By Francis Maingaila
The opposition members of Zambia’s parliament Friday boycotted an address by the president en masse, saying they refuse to recognize that he won the office.
Jack Mwiimbu, leader of the protesting MPs, told reporters that they will continue to boycott all events and addresses by President Edgar Lungu until the Constitutional Court declares that he did not win last August’s election.
“We decided to boycott President Lungu’s address to the nation through parliament as a way of registering our position that we don’t recognize his election as Zambia’s president until the Constitutional Court hears our petition on merit.”
According to Mwiimbu, the court refused to hear the evidence of voting irregularities and fraud from a petition his party filed, citing a technicality, namely that it was not filed in time.
“Because of this, we will not acknowledge the election of President Lungu until the petition is heard on merit.”
This is the second time opposition MPs mainly from the opposition United Party for National Development have boycotted Lungu's biannual address to parliament. Last September, opposition MPs boycotted Lungu’s address at the opening of parliament after his election on Aug. 11.
Zambian parliament has 156 elected MPs. There are 60 opposition MPs and 14 independents, and the rest are from the ruling party.