President Lungu is asking why his critics are making noise about his eligibility when the Constitutional Court already declared that he only served one term. We are shocked to hear this from a president who is a lawyer. We are surprised that President Lungu has joined the lying clique in the PF. How did the Constitutional Court rule in his favor when he was not party to the court proceedings? Was Lungu part of the Danny Pule case?
The truth is that the court declined to talk about President Lungu’s eligibility. What the Constitutional Court did was to give their interpretation of what constitutes a full term of office. It is also true that the Constitutional Court said January, 2015, and August, 2016, did not amount to a full term of office, but no judge said: “as such, Mr Edgar Lungu is eligible to stand”. The reason is simple, first, Mr Lungu was not part of the proceedings, and second, the Constitution does not say if you are elected president and you serve less than five years then you can stand again in the next election as president.
How can you claim benefits of a judgement you were not party to?
This is a deliberate ploy to mislead people. Mr Lungu knows very well that the court did not pronounce him eligible to stand in 2021, but he wants the uninformed population to buy into that narrative that his candidacy has the backing of the Constitutional Court. This is very unfair coming from a Head of State who is a lawyer, or one who claims to be.
Why is Mr Lungu lying to the people? Can the President show us which paragraph of the Constitutional Court judgement says he has only served one term? Which page and paragraph says so? It’s sad when you have people in leadership who try to take advantage of people who are not abreast with current affairs.
We wonder if President Lungu is trying to tell the nation that he is the wisest lawyer in the country, because what he is saying is contrary to what the Law Association of Zambia says. The position of the current LAZ executive, the Eddie Mwitwa-led LAZ executive and the Linda Kasonde-led LAZ executive is the same, and that is that the incumbent President is not eligible to stand again in 2021. We believe that Mr Lungu, if he still has a valid practicing law certificate, is a member of this Association, so it is surprising that he is departing from this common position.
We recall that even Mr Brian Mundubile, the PF Central Committee chairman for legal affairs, agreed with the Law Association of Zambia that the Constitutional Court did not pronounce itself on President Lungu’s eligibility. What Mr Mundibile said is that, despite that being the case, the PF believes that when the court is asked to determine Mr Lungu’s eligibility, it will find that he qualifies. To us, that’s the closest thing to decency that anyone in the Patriotic Front can say. So, President Lungu should stop misleading the citizens of this country.
How long will we, as a country, continue to talk about this very straightforward issue? Aren’t there other important national issues that we can debate? Why should one individual be so stubborn and insist on contesting the 2021 elections when legal experts advise him to leave office with dignity? Why is the Head of State trying to impose himself on the people of Zambia?
Surely, there must be something else that President Lungu can do after leaving office. Political leadership is not a lifelong inheritance. There are 17 million Zambians; if one of us is allowed to serve the country for 10 years, it means in hundred years, we can only be ruled by 10 people. Surely, why can’t this President be grateful that he has done his time and leave the seat for someone else? Isn’t this selfishness?
Anyway, we also have a message to the Patriotic Front. We are not members of the Patriotic Front and so the ruling party is free to discard our free advice. President Lungu has lost his popularity because of the numerous scandals that have come out of his administration. Making him presidential candidate next year is quite a risky decision and even if he forces his way, chances are there that he may lose. If he loses, he will go down with the opportunities for other PF officials who have ambitions to lead this country.
When you sit at a party to discuss this matter, you need to be sincere with yourself and ask bold questions about this candidate that you are clinging to. If you fail to look the President in the face and tell him the truth, you must know that not only are you being unfair to him, but you are also being unfair to yourself as a party. When you lose power, you will not get it back. Ask UNIP and MMD.