The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and the opposition UPND have insisted that the Constitutional Court must throw out President Lungu’s eligibility case because he does not qualify to re-contest in 2021.
And the ConCourt bench has been reconstituted to seven judges.
This is the matter in which four PF-aligned opposition political party leaders Daniel Pule of Christian Democratic Party, Zambia Republican Party leader Wright Musoma, Peter Chanda of the New Congress Party and Citizen Democratic Party leader Robert Mwanza want the court to determine the eligibility of President Lungu to contest elections in 2021.
LAZ is the first interested party whereas UPND is the second interested party.
In their submissions filed in the Constitutional Court, LAZ, through its lawyer John Sangwa, stated that it was the position of the legal body that President Lungu was not eligible to contest in 2021.
“Article 106(6) of the Constitution does not operate retroactively. It is the position of LAZ that President Lungu is not elidgible to contest the presidential election in 2021,” read the submissions.
Sangwa also argued that the applicants had not demonstrated how they were personally affected by Article 106(3) which limited the number of times one held the office of President to two.
“We pray that the Applicants’ application be dismissed on the premise that: (i) The applicants have no standing in this matter in that they have not demonstrated how they have been personally affected by Article 106(3) which limits the number of times one can hold the office of President to two. (ii) The outcome of this case may either benefit or affect President Lungu who is not a party to these proceedings and who is not going to be heard on the matter. And no court of justice can make an order affecting a person who has not been heard and is not a party to the proceedings,” he stated.
“(iii) The issue of President Lungu’s eligibility is not ripe for adjudication in that the procedure outlined in Article 52 of the Constitution has not been actuated and President Lungu himself has not expressed interest to contest the said election. (iv) The determination of President Lungu’s eligibility is premature in that there is no evidence that he will indeed hold office until August 2021 and that his current tenure cannot be determined prematurely by events stipulated in Article 106(4) of the Constitution.”
Sangwa further argued that President Lungu was not eligible to contest in 2021 because he had already been elected twice as President.
“The applicants application ought to fail on merit that President Lungu is not illegible to contest the election of 2021 because he has already been elected twice to the office of President. The circumstance in which President Lungu first assumed the office of President is not covered by Article 106(3) of the Constitution,” stated Sangwa.
“Article 106(6) [of the] Constitution does not have a retroactive effect: it cannot operate to cover the period effective January 2015, when President Lungu was first elected. The circumstance in which President Lungu first assumed the office of President is not covered by article 106(5) of the constitution. We accordingly pray.”
And in the second interested party’s skeleton arguments in support of affidavit in opposition, UPND lawyers from C L Mundia and company and Malambo and company argued that any attempt for President Lungu to go for a third term would not only be illegal but unconstitutional.
“The application ought to fail with costs for being totally misconceived and being utterly bereft of any merit. In a nutshell, any attempt by President Lungu to go for a third term will not only be illegal but also unconstitutional and indeed undemocratic in the extreme,” they stated.
When the matter came up Tuesday, Pule’s lawyers asked for an adjournment to allow them to study the UPND’s submissions.
The matter was adjourned to May 7, 2018.