Government has deregistered the Democratic Front (DF) party because of an ownership dispute between PF Matero MP Miles Sampa and Lawyer David Chanda (see Fact Box). According to Minister of Home Affairs Davies Mwila, a committee set up by the Registrar of Societies recommended that the party should be deregistered because of negligence and carelessness by previous owners, which apparently meant that Chanda had not handed over the party properly to Sampa. “The party is not in existence. No-one will represent DF. In the interest of peace, welfare and good order, it has to cease to exist (…) Mr Sampa is free to challenge this decision,” Mwila stated. Which Sampa did! First, he applied for an interim injunction to stop Chanda from purporting to represent the party, then he applied for a judicial review of the deregistration, and was promptly granted a stay. Chanda, on the other hand, said it was “shocking that my political party has been deregistered, when the legitimate owner is known and available”.

DF to find another party symbol?

The Democratic Assembly Party has accused Miles Sampa’s Democratic Front of using its party colour (orange) and symbol (index finger pointed upwards). The party claimed it had complained to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), asking it to resolve the issue, as it had already printed T-shirts, caps and chitenges, Secretary General Rose Kabungo told the Times of Zambia. ECZ stated that it had yet to receive the complaint letter.

BACKGROUND: Who owns the DF?

Soon after Miles Sampa launched the Democratic Front on 23 January 2016, Lawyer David Chanda claimed that he was the rightful owner of the party, explaining that he registered the Genuine People’s Platform (GPP) party on 21 July 2014, but was allowed to change its name to the Democratic Front (DF) in December 2014. However, extracts of unverifiable documents, uploaded to the online Mwebantu, suggest that Chanda relinquished the position of party president to Sampa on 22 December 2014. Yet, Chanda has been very vocal on the matter, maintaining that he is the owner of the DF. Sampa has been surprisingly mute, but his assistant Ngolwe Sakala told Lusaka Times: “Chanda is just playing politics, for us this is not an issue, because we have all the documents from the Registrar of Societies with stamps that are authentic”.