- Title: ZAMBIA: Supreme Court rejects recount bid for 2008 presidential election
- Date: 12th March 2009
- Summary: MAN HOLDING CHILD SINGING AND DANCING
- Embargoed: 27th March 2009 12:00
- Location: Zambia
- Country: Zambia
- Topics: Legal System,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAQO4OOE119ABHVSBCWBAYKYNF
- Story Text: Zambia's Supreme Court has rejected a petition by opposition leader Michael Sata for a recount of the votes in the October 30, 2008 presidential election in Africa's biggest copper producer.
Sata was seeking a recount before the start of the main election petition through which he is asking the court to nullify the victory of Rupiah Banda, saying the vote was rigged.
The court set April 27 as the start for that hearing.
"I am instructing my lawyers to abandon the whole process, we are not going to go, we are not going to go for further humiliation on the 27th, we are not going to go for further humiliation," Sata told journalists after the Supreme Court announced its decision.
In a separate submission, Sata said the electoral commission had allowed voting to be extended by two days in some rural constituencies, giving an advantage to Banda.
He said the huge number of spoiled votes recorded in his urban strongholds were intended to give victory to Banda.
The electoral commission said the poll extension was due to problems in delivering election materials to remote parts of the country with poor road networks.
Sata had provided the court with written affidavits which his supporters signed outlining vote fraud but the Supreme Court said it could not rely on that evidence.
"This does not mean we have accepted the legitimacy of Mr. Rupiah Banda. We have not accepted the legitimacy of Mr. Rupiah Banda, if the Supreme Court wanted or if the judicial system wanted, they should have allowed a re-count and after the re-count, if he was going to come out even with one vote, we were going to congratulate him and endorse his legitimacy but the Supreme Court has now heightened our suspicion," Sata continued.
Banda had earlier called on the Supreme Court to dismiss Sata's petition, which raised the prospect of prolonged political uncertainty in a country suffering badly from the fall in copper prices caused by the global economic downturn.
"So justice has been done and nobody, we should not fight, we should not quarrel," said William Banda, a senior member of the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MDD).
The election was held to replace Levy Mwanawasa, who died in August after a stroke. Mwanawasa's fiscal discipline won praise from Western donors and investors.
Banda -- acting president after Mwanawasa's death -- won 40 percent of the 1.79 million votes cast versus 38 percent for Sata, according to final results released by the electoral commission. The margin of victory was 35,209 votes.
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