PATRIOTIC Front secretary general Davies Mwila says Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa State Counsel is dull and cannot understand the Constitutional Court ruling which declared President Edgar Lungu eligible for 2021.
Meanwhile, Mwila has announced that the ruling party has appointed a task force led by former finance minister Margaret Mwanakatwe to ensure speedy negotiations into the Bulk Supply Agreement (BSA) between the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) and Zesco which comes to end on March 31st.
Mwila was speaking at a press briefing held at the party secretariat in Lusaka, where he also announced that the PF elective general conference would be held from 10th to 12th July, 2020.
On Friday, Sangwa insisted that President Lungu was not illegible to contest the 2021 election, adding that the ConCourt did not make any such declaration.
“When you read the language of the Constitution, it is very clear. The bottom line is President Lungu does not qualify to stand in 2021, the issue is as simple as that. The Constitution does not talk about the number of times you serve, it is the number of times you get elected. So the Constitution expects, to be only able to contest and be elected twice, once you have been elected twice then that’s it, you are done! I think what has been misunderstood is in relation to the person who has been Vice-President. One can only be elected to the office of President twice, it doesn’t matter how many years you serve, you can only be elected to the office of President twice, no more than twice! You can’t have a third term, you can’t go for a third term! There is no provision for a third term in our Constitution! What would be of interest is what Mr [Patrick] Nshindano and his colleagues [at ECZ] would do when President Lungu files his nomination. We will see what they are going to do because they have the right to reject the nomination papers, so we will see what they are going to do,” said Sangwa.
But at his briefing, when Mwila was asked to cite provisions of the law on which the ruling party was basing its argument that President Lungu was eligible to stand in 2021 despite having been elected twice, the PF CEO failed to cite any provision but instead castigated Sangwa for saying the Head of State was ineligible.
“The President is eligible [to stand in 2021]. The Constitutional Court made a ruling and that was very clear, unless you are not aware of that. The ConCourt made a ruling, because there was a debate which was going on where some people were saying President Lungu is eligible while others were saying he’s not eligible. The matter went to Court and the Constitutional Court ruled that President Lungu is eligible. Unless lawyer [John] Sangwa is a dull lawyer who can’t think, and who can’t read the judgment [because] even me as a layman I am able to understand [that court ruling],” Mwila said.
Mwila urged Sangwa to stay away from politics or he would be treated as a political opponent.
“The issue which was there (in the ConCourt) is the term of office and the Constitution is clear that if you’ve not served for more than three years, then its not a term. And the Constitutional Court ruled that President Lungu served for less than three years, so it was not a term. So President Lungu is eligible to stand in 2021. So tell Sangwa, he should not be political, or we will take him as a political opponent. These are politics,” Mwila said.
Mwila asked Sangwa to take the case of President Lungu’s eligibility to court if he was still not convinced by the ConCourt ruling.
“As far we are concerned, President Lungu is eligible to stand and lawyer Sangwa has the right to take the matter to court if [he still has issues] and the court will interpret. Why is it that he has failed to go to Court? The ruling was made by the Constitutional Court and he can’t start this matter which he knows that there is a judgment in place. So if he wants, he can go to court again, he’s free. But as far as we are concerned, President Lungu in 2021 will be on the ballot paper,” Mwila insisted.
Meanwhile, Mwila said the ruling party had appointed a task force led by Mwanakatwe to ensure that negotiations into the Bulk Supply Agreement between CEC and Zesco were completed before on March 31st.
“The other matter that we deliberated on was the issue of Copperbelt Energy Corporation. The
Bulk Supply Agreement between Zesco and CEC is coming to an end this Month-end and government is not renewing the contract. But as a party, we have taken keen interest seeing that the negotiations have taken long and we’ve appointed task force to be headed by honurable Mwanakatwe our chairperson in charge of commerce, honourable Yamfwa Mukanga our chairperson in charge of elections and chairman for legal affairs honourable Brian Mundubile. Basically their role is to ensure that the parties who are involved in the negotiations conclude these negotiations as quickly as possible. Our interest as a party is on the 400 workers, we don’t want the employees to lose their jobs. So we have asked the parties involved to conclude negotiations as quickly as possible,” Mwila announced. The agreement will come to an end this month-end and there is a temporary agreement for one year, so within one year, we are supposed to finish all the discussions and come up with a new agreement,” said Mwila.