Patriotic Front (PF) Legal Committee Chairperson Brian Mundunile says the Constitutional Court’s judgement in President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility case was fair, just and was reasonably concluded.
In a statement, Mundubile noted that the distracters of the judgement had not cited any single judgment which advocates for strict interpretation in the circumstances of the case.
“In the case of President Edgar Lungu, they decided that his term should be dealt with in accordance with the law presently obtaining. This is fair, just and reasonable Conclusion. The detractors of the judgment are urguing that a narrow and excessively formalistic interpretation should have been adopted in order that the incumbent should be declared ineligible. However, such is not the approach to Constitutional interpretation. The Court cited judgements from across the globe including its earlier judgment in Steven Katuka to justify the approach taken. The detractors have not cited a single judgement which advocates for strict interpretation in the circumstances of the case,” Mundubile stated.
Mundubile, who is also Northern Province Minister and Mporokoso PF member of parliament, stated that there was no impairment of rights in the case of the incumbent president and therefore there was no presumption.
“The first criticism is that the circumstances under which Article 106(6)(b) is applicable were not satisfied by the factual circumstances of the incumbent. Since these circumstances were not at play in 2015 when President Lungu was elected then the provisions are not applicable. The argument is that the Constitutional Court backdated the provisions to 2015 when different provisions were applicable. In essence the argument is that there was retrospective application of the law. This argument was addressed in the judgement. In the first place, retrospectivity is a presumption. The Court cited the case of Moobola v Muweza in holding that an Act is not retrospective merely because it applies to circumstances which were antecendent to its passing. In this case, the Court disagreed with the argument that the estate of a person who died before the enactment of the Intestate Succession Act could not be distributed in accordance with that Act. The presumption against retrospectivity only applies where rights are being impaired. In the case of the incumbent, there was no impairment of rights and therefore no presumption,” stated Mundubile.