LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

PART II
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

   3.   Electoral Commission to supervise local government elections

   4.   [Repealed]

   5.   Commission to confer powers on officers of government or councils

   6.   Appointment of election officers

   7.   Conduct and expenses of Local Government Elections

   8.   Powers of Commission

PART III
DELIMITATION OF WARDS

   9.   Division of area of councils into wards

PART IV
HOLDING OF ELECTIONS

   10.   Ordinary elections

   11.   Nomination of candidates

   12.   By-elections

   13.   Representation of wards and tenure of office

   14.   Qualification for voting

   15.   Disqualification from voting

   16.   Qualification of Councilors

   17.   Disqualification of Councillors

PART V
ELECTION PETITIONS

   18.   Avoidance of elections

   19.   Who may present election petition

   20.   Relief which may be claimed in election

   21.   Form and procedure for presentation of election petition

   22.   Duty of Registrar to make out list of election petitions

   23.   Rules of practice and procedure; security for costs

   24.   Withdrawal of election petitions

   25.   Substitution of new petitioners

   26.   Abatement of election petitions

   27.   Trial of election petitions

   28.   Provisions as to witnesses

   29.   Conclusion of trial of election petition

   30.   Provisions as to costs

PART VI
CORRUPT AND ILLEGAL PRACTICE AND ELECTION OFFENCES

   31.   Bribery

   32.   Personation

   33.   Treating

   34.   Undue influence

   35.   Penalty

   36.   Illegal practice of publishing false statements in respect of candidates

   37.   Illegal practice in respect of nomination of candidates

   38.   Illegal practice in respect of voters

   39.   Illegal practice in respect of public meetings

   40.   Illegal practice in broadcasts

   41.   Penalty for illegal practices

   42.   Election offences

   43.   Secrecy

   44.   Offences by election officer

   45.   Offences by printers and publishers

   46.   Penalty for attempt to commit certain offences

PART VII
MISCELLANEOUS

   47.   Repealed

   48.   When incapacity may be removed

   49.   No person required to state how he voted

   50.   Evidence as to holding of election

   51.   Validation of certain documents

   52.   Transitional provisions in respect of elections in 1991

AN ACT

to provide for the conduct of Local Government Elections; to establish the Electoral Commission and to specify the functions thereof; and to provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

[6th September, 1991]

Act 21 of 1991,

Act 18 of 1992,

Act 26 of 1992,

Act 31 of 1993,

Act 13 of 1994,

Act 14 of 1994,

Act 17 of 1997,

Act 8 of 2004.

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the Local Government Elections Act*.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“area”, in relation to a council, has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Local Government Act;

“by-election” means an election held in accordance with section 12;

“candidate” means any person nominated as a candidate for election as a Councilor;

“casual vacancy” means a vacancy in the office of Councilor occurring by virtue of section 19 of the Local Government Act;

“Commission” means the ElectoRal CommissIon established under Article 76 of the Constitution;

[Sub by s 2 of Act 17 of 1997.]

“corrupt practice” means any act punishable under section 41;

“costs” include charges and expenses;

“council” means a City Council, Municipal Council, Township Council or District Council established or deemed to be established under the Local Government Act;

“Councilor” means a person elected under this Act to the office of Councillor of a council;

“Director of Elections” means the person for the time being holding or acting in the public office of Director of Elections;

“District Executive Secretary” in relation to a council, has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Local Government Act;

“election” means an election to the office of Councilor of a council;

“election officer” has the meaning assigned to it in section 6;

“election petition” means an election petition referred to in section 18;

“employee”, in relation to a council, has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Local Government Act;

“illegal practice” means any act which is an illegal practice under Part VI;

“interim period” means the period commencing at the commencement of this Act and expiring on such date as the President may, by statutory order, prescribe;

“officer”, in relation to a council, has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Local Government Act;

“ordinary election” means an election held in accordance with section 10;

“petitioner”, in relation to an election petition means any person referred to in section 19 who signs and presents such election petition under section 21, and includes any person substituted for the petitioner under section 25 or 26;

“polling district” means a polling district declared to be such under section 17 of the Electoral Act;

“register of voters” means a register of voters prepared and in force under the Electoral Act;

“registered” means registered in a register of voters and “registration” shall be construed accordingly;

“Registrar” means the Registrar of the High Court;

“respondent” has the meaning assigned to it under section 21;

“returning officer” means a person appointed as such under this Act;

“voter” means a person entitled to vote at an election under section 14;

“ward” means any of the divisions into which a council area is divided under section 9;

   (2) For the purpose of this Act, “election expenses” means expenses incurred, whether before, during or after an election, on account of, or in respect of, the conduct or management of such election by or on behalf of a candidate:

Provided that the following expenses shall not be deemed to be election expenses—

      (i)   any money expended or expenses incurred by any association or group of persons or by any person in the general interests of a political party or organisation or its candidates generally, not being money expended or expenses incurred directly in the particular interest of any particular candidate or expenditure incurred by a political party with the consent of a candidate and apportioned to such candidate under this Act;

      (ii)   any money expended or expenses incurred by any political party or organisation in the printing, publication or distribution of the official organ of that political party or organisation; or

      (iii)   any money deposited by or on behalf of a candidate with an election officer under any provision of this Act relating to the nomination of candidates for election.

PART II
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

 

[Part II heading sub by s 3 of Act 17 of 1997.]

3.   Electoral Commission to supervise local government elections

Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the commission shall supervise the conduct of local government elections.

[S 3 sub by s 4 of Act 17 of 1997.]

4.   ...

[S 4 rep by s 5 of Act 17 of 1997.]

5.   Commission to confer powers on officers of government or councils.

The commission may, by regulation, confer powers or impose duties on any officer or authority of the government or of a council for the purpose of discharging its functions under this Act.

[S 5 sub by s 6 of Act 17 of 1997.]

6.   Appointment of election officers

###   (1) The Commission may appoint such election officers as it may consider necessary for the purpose of any election and, subject to the other provisions of this section, any election officer may exercise such functions relating to an election as may be prescribed by the Commission.

   (2) In respect of any election, an election officer may, if so empowered by the Commission under regulations made under section 8, appoint any fit person to be an election officer and may in any case, subject to the general or special directions of the Commission, appoint any fit person to assist him in the exercise of his functions under this Act;

Provided that an election officer may at any time, in such manner as may be prescribed, revoke an appointment made by him under this sub-section.

   (3) Every election officer shall, before exercising any of the functions of his office, take and subscribe such oath or make such affirmation in lieu of the Oath, as the Commission may prescribe.

   (4) The Commission may at any time revoke the appointment of an election officer.

   (5) Every election officer shall be paid such remuneration and allowances in respect of his duties as the Commission may determine.

   (6) In this section, “election officer” means a person appointed under this Act to be—

   (a)   a returning officer;

   (b)   a presiding officer;

   (c)   a polling assistant; or

   (d)   a counting assistant;

and includes any person appointed by an election officer under sub-section (2); and where functions are conferred on the Director of Elections under this Act in respect of an election, includes the Director of Elections.

7.   Conduct and expenses of Local Government Elections

   (1) The conduct of every election shall be subject to the direction and supervision of the Commission.

   (2) The costs of, and incidental to, the conduct of any election in any ward of a council shall be paid out of money appropriated by Parliament for the purpose:

Provided that, notwithstanding any such appropriation, such council shall pay into the general revenues of the Republic the amount of such costs, or such lesser amount as the Minister may prescribe, by statutory order, in respect of such council.

   (3) Where any question arises as to the amount of the costs referred to in sub-section (2), a certificate under the hand of the Minister stating the amount of the costs shall be conclusive and shall not be questioned in any proceedings whatsoever.

8.   Powers of Commission

   (1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the Commission may, by statutory instrument, make regulations providing for the procedure and manner of conducting every election, and may, at any time, issue instructions to any election officer in connection with his functions under this Act and may require any election officer to furnish to the Commission such information and returns as it may consider necessary.

   (2) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1), the Commission may, be statutory instrument, make regulations providing for all or any of the following matters—

      (i)   the division of the area of councils into wards;

      (ii)   the establishment of polling stations in a ward;

      (iii)   the nomination of candidates for any election; and the withdrawal of nominations duly made;

      (iv)   the making and determination of appeals against the rejection of nominations by a returning officer;

      (v)   the publication of names of candidates whose nominations are accepted;

      (vi)   the payment of election fees by candidates;

      (vii)   the use, and the allocation of, symbols at an election;

      (viii)   the appointment, and the duties of, election agents and polling agents;

      (ix)   the fixing of dates and times for the taking of polls;

      (x)   the equipment and facilities to be provided at polling stations;

      (xi)   the persons who may be admitted to polling stations;

      (xii)   the manner and procedure of voting at an election;

      (xiii)   the manner of ascertaining the identity of persons wishing to vote at elections and whether such persons are qualified to vote;

      (xiv)   the manner in which persons who are blind, or otherwise incapacitated, may vote;

      (xv)   voting by persons employed on election duties on the day of an election;

      (xvi)   the maintenance of secrecy at elections;

      (xvii)   the postponement of, the adjournment of, or an extension of, time for a poll in case of riot or open violence at an election;

      (xviii)   the administering of oaths or affirmations by election officers in respect of such matters as may be prescribed;

      (xix)   the procedure to be followed at the conclusion of a poll in an election;

      (xx)   the procedure for counting votes in an election, and the circumstances in which votes in an election may be rejected by a returning officer as invalid;

      (xxi)   for the purpose of declaring any candidate duly elected, the procedure to be followed where there is an equality of votes between candidates in an election;

      (xxii)   the procedure to be followed where only one person or where no person is duly nominated for election in a ward;

      (xxiii)   the declaration, notification and publication of the result of an election;

      (xxiv)   the custody and disposal of nomination papers, ballot papers, records, documents and other things relating to the conduct of elections;

      (xxv)   election expenses and returns relating to such expenses;

      (xxvi)   the notification and publication of any casual vacancy in the elected membership of a council;

      (xxvii)   the forms and records to be used for any of the purposes of this Act; and

   (xxviii)   any matter to be prescribed under this Act.

   (3) Regulations made under this section may provide in respect of any contravention of them that any such contravention shall be a corrupt practice or an illegal practice and that any offender shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding eight hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, or to both.

   (4) No prosecution for an offence against this Act shall be commenced after the lapse of one year from the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

   (5) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), a police officer may arrest without warrant any person reasonably suspected by the police officer of having committed or attempted to commit an offence against this Act.

[S 8 am by Act 13 of 1994.]

PART III
DELIMITATION OF WARDS

9.   Division of area of councils into wards

   (1) Not later than six months after the appointment of the members of the Commission under section 3, and whenever thereafter it is necessary to do so to give effect to the provisions of this section, the Commission shall, after consultation with every council, by statutory order, divide the area of each council into wards, defining the boundaries of the wards by reference to polling districts, and assigning names to the wards.

   (2) The number of wards into which the area of a council is divided shall be equal to the number of elected Councillors prescribed in respect of that council by the Minister under the Local Government Act.

   (3) The Commission shall exercise its powers under this section that each ward comprises one or more complete polling districts.

   (4) Whenever the Minister alters the area of a council or the number of Councillors of a council, the Commission shall after consultation with such council, by statutory order, make such alterations to the boundaries of the wards of such council or to the division of the area of such council into wards as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this section.

   (5) Whenever the Commission is satisfied that there has been a material alteration in the number of registered voters in the area of a council or of any of the wards into which such area is divided, the Commission may, after consultation with the council concerned, exercise in respect of the area of that council or any part of the council the powers conferred by this section.

PART IV
HOLDING OF ELECTIONS

10.   Ordinary elections

   (1) An ordinary election of Councillors in every ward of every council throughout Zambia shall with effect from 2001 to be held every five years, on such date as the President shall, by statutory order, prescribe:

[S 10 am by s 2 Act 8 of 2004.]

Provided that—

   (a)   a poll shall not be taken in any ward in respect of which only one candidate is validly nominated for election; or

   (b)   where for any reason no candidate is elected at an election in any ward further elections shall be held in the ward until a candidate is duly elected.

   (2) Whenever—

   (a)   a new council is established; or

   (b)   an alteration is made in the division of the area of an existing council into wards or in the definition of the boundaries of any ward;

the President may, by statutory order, direct that any ordinary election of Councillors in every ward or in any particular ward of that council shall be held on such date as may be appointed by the order.

   (3) A statutory order under this section shall specify the day or days on which, and the hours within which returning officers may receive nominations of candidates for election in any ward to which such order relates.

[S 10 am by Act 26 of 1991; 31 of 1993.]

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