Four PF-aligned opposition political party leaders have insisted that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to contest the 2021 elections because he did not serve a full term after being elected in 2015.
This is the matter in which 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 petitioned the Constitutional Court over the eligibility of President Lungu.
Earlier, the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and the opposition UPND had insisted that the Constitutional Court must throw out President Lungu’s eligibility case because he did not qualify to re-contest in 2021.
LAZ had argued that President Lungu was not eligible to contest the 2021 elections because he had already served two terms as required by Article 106 (3) of the constitution.
But according to the Applicants’ submissions in reply filed in the ConCourt, April 30, the petitioners argued that article 35 (2) of the Constitution as amended in 1996 had been abolished therefore, the continued reference by LAZ and the UPND to ‘twice elected’ was misconceived.
They argued that under the law currently in force as provided for under Article 106 (3), the bar was in relation to a person who had twice held office.
They further argued that in the current legal regime, a person was not deemed to have ‘twice held office’ if he had not served two full terms as defined by the Constitution.
And on LAZ’s argument that the petitioners had not demonstrated how they were personally affected by the limited number of terms that one held office of President, the petitioners argued that they had a standing in the matter as they supported the candidacy of President Lungu in the last election pursuant to a memorandum of understanding between their parties and the PF.
The petitioners further stated that the matter was ripe for adjudication as it was brought in the interest of the public.
They stated that it was brought about because of the uncertainty surrounding the eligibility of the current President as the public had the right to know.