THANK you so much. Have a pleasant evening, were the last words Masuwa Exon Kalabi told Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson justice Esau Chulu and commissioners.

Kalabi was hoping to contest as independent presidential candidate this year.

But no, his evening wasn’t pleasant, after all; his presidential nomination, together with that of his would-be running mate, Ryan Tembo, has been annulled by justice Chulu.

And there is a reason for that Around 19:37 hours today, Justice Chulu informed, an otherwise smartly dressed Kalabi, that the Commission scrutinised his documents and: “it is with regret that, in accordance with Articles 52 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, I have determined that you have not been validly nominated as a presidential candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections.”

“In the circumstance, I have equally determined that Mr Ryan Tembo has not been validly nominated as a running mate in the same election,” Justice Chulu said at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

“The reason for my determination is as follows: according to the nomination papers that have been filed before me, you have only managed to raise 948 supporters, contrary to the requirement, which is 1, 000 supporters, and this is pursuant to Article 100 (1) paragraph j of the same Constitution. That is the pronouncement that I wish to make to you. Regrettably, this is the position.”

Kalabi then asked, “chair, am I allowed to say something?”

Justice Chulu, instead, stood and said: “I wish to hand you the letter confirming that I have invalidated your nomination, as per law prescribed. Thank you.”

Then justice Chulu asked Kalabi: “what is it you wish to say?”

Kalabi gave an excuse that borders on miscommunication between him and the ECZ.
“Having been instructed to bring our supporters today in Lusaka, we did mobilise and our supporters arrived last night. Today in the morning when our supporters came, unfortunately weren’t given an instruction of where they do the processing from,” explained Kalabi.

“And when they came, they were turned away from the Mulungushi main entrance and we directed them to seek refuge in the Showgrounds where they were further turned away. The Showgrounds security were not aware that Electoral Commission of Zambia] was having a process to do with processing….”

But that account, for now, counts for nothing, either in justice Chulu’s or your assessment.

The fact is that only 16 presidential candidates have been validly nominated, and Kalabi is not one of them.
Lack of 52 supporters, who are registered voters, has become a hurdle for Kalabi’s presidential bid.

Justice Chulu is a former judge of the High Court and so, maybe Kalabi’s plea should have been more judicious.

Kalabi has, however been told to officially write to the ECZ, concerning his predicament, before close of business tomorrow.

All Kalabi could do, at this point, was to politely stand up and tell justice Chulu and other staff on the ECZ panel that: “thank you so much. Have a pleasant evening.”
He concluded his talk with a bow, something similar to the Japanese one.

Downcast, Kalabi walked out of the nomination centre and still managed to congratulate presidential, parliamentary and local government candidates who have successfully filed in their nominations.

The four day presidential nomination period closed today.

Those who managed to file in today are Nevers Mumba of the MMD and running mate Reuben Sambo, Charles Chanda of the United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) and running mate Simon Mbulu and UNIP’s Trevor Mwamba and running mate John Brown Harawa.

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