Zambia ruling party scoffs at opposition party decision to seek ICC intervention

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Zambia's ruling party on Monday scoffed at plans by the main opposition party to take its presidential election petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Frank Bwalya, deputy spokesperson of the Patriotic Front (PF), said the opposition party would just be wasting its time by taking the matter to the ICC to overturn the Aug. 11 election that gave Edgar Lungu a full five-year term.

Lungu was sworn in at a delayed inauguration ceremony on Sept. 13because opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema challenged the result in court, saying the vote was rigged.

The ICC has "no jurisdiction and competence to handle the matter" and is thus in no position to overturn Lungu's election victory, the spokesperson said.

The ruling party was not aware of any court outside the country that could hear the petition of the opposition, Bwalya said, adding that the move was only intended by the opposition to seek international sympathy.

Zambia's main opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), has refused to recognize that Lungu was duly elected in the Aug. 11 election. However, its efforts to overturn the result in the Constitutional Court yielded nothing. The party has since taken the matter to the Supreme Court.

On Sunday, Hichilema, who leads the UPND, said the party will take the presidential petition to the ICC once it exhausts efforts in local courts.

Lungu succeeded Michael Sata as head of the ruling PF in 2014 after the latter died. He won the presidency the following year in a by-election, defeating opposition candidate Hichilema. Endi

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