Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Malanji says he has received a number of calls from the International Community appreciating the certainty that Zambia has gained after the Constitutional Court’s ruling which allowed President Edgar Lungu to stand in 2021.

And Malanji has asked those wishing to challenge President Lungu to do so on the ballot box in 2021 rather than ranting on various platforms.

Speaking at a press briefing at his office, Tuesday, Malanji wondered why those chanting “third term” were quiet when President Lungu did not get his gratuity for not serving the required number of days.

“First of all I want to congratulate His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu for the ConCourt ruling on his eligibility for 2021. You know it’s not one thing when the court rules in your favor that you go seeing the courts as independent [and] when they don’t in your favour [then] the courts are not independent. We appreciate the integrity that the Zambian courts have displayed…The Zambian judiciary is actually admired by quite a good number of countries in the region and the continent as a whole. So that effect we must appreciate that presidency is a very serious institution and it requires commitment to most of the people that surround it,” Malanji said.

He said immediately judgement was passed, he received a number of calls from the International Community expressing relief.

“When you look at Zambia, we’ve had calamities in a period of 15 years we have had four presidents and these four presidents, all being equal, are supposed to have served for 40 years. We appreciate that there have been an act of forced merger [where] we have lost two sitting presidents [and] this is not a simple matter because the office of the presidency requires continuity. When you look at Zambia today, immediately that judgement was passed, I had quite a good number of calls from the international community appreciating that there would be certainty in this country,” Malanji said.

“We must appreciate that Zambia as at now is a member of the C10 peace and security and we are chair of the organ for peace and security on SADC. So those are not simple offices, those offices are given to a country where they see that there is certainty and you cannot underrate the economic factors. When you have a turn of presidency, that equally affects our economy. So we are glad that the courts ruled in favour of His Excellency, then we know that at least he can actually display his pros in executing duties as opposed to the anxieties which everyone had before the ruling of the courts.”

And Malanji asked those wishing to challenge President Lungu to do so on the ballot box in 2021 rather than ranting on various platforms.

“My meetings with the European community on the side[lines] of the United Nations, they actually appreciated the role that Zambia is playing in the region and they appreciated the democracy on the Zambian platform. So it should not be diluted now by individuals with different motives. Those that want to challenge President Lungu, 2021 is not very far. Let them just prepare to challenge him in the ballot box and not to go and sing on platforms to declare third term. What is third term? The time that President Lungu as not given gratuity, for not having not met the threshold or the period he was suppose to be in office, no one went to cry on any platform to say ‘why haven’t you given President Lungu his gratuity?’ [and] now that the constitution suites him, we now start crying to say ‘President Lungu is not eligible.’ Let’s be fair and the only thing that will be neutral for everyone is the ballot box and let the Zambian decide in 2021,” said Malanji.

“So those [saying] that the president cannot make [it] in 2021, the onus is on them to challenge him in 2021. This is not time to actually use technicalities to eliminate would-be candidates. President Lungu as displayed in 2016 got the majority and that’s how come got the 50 per cent plus one victory from the word go. So we must now look at working together as a country. Zambians by history and instincts are very good people and they should not be swayed by people with personal motives, let’s work as Zambians and let’s make Zambia be the Zambia that everyone knows in this region. You must realise that in the services that we are executing now as chair of the organ (SADC) are not new to Zambia. Zambia played a middle-wifely role in having independence for quite a good number of countries surrounding us and we must continue to have Zambia a model in this country.” a