GOVERNANCE activist Brebner Changala says PF will be thrown into disarray if they don’t find a qualified candidate by 2021.
And Changala says as a lawyer, President Edgar Lungu knows that he does not qualify to stand in the 2021 elections.
In an interview, Tuesday, Changala said PF’s endorsement of President Lungu as sole candidate was ill conceived as it injured the general membership of the party.
“I was talking about PF. Mainly, they are the only people who see that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu qualifies to stand in 2021 and they base their argument on the Constitutional Court judgment in Danny Pule and others. Now, if you have read the Constitutional Court judgment as defective as it is, it does not anywhere and clearly and categorically state that President Lungu does qualify to stand in 2021 or indeed any other elections thereafter. One of the things the Court did not touch on is what is in the statute that whoever has been President or sworn in twice cannot seek the office of the President again. Now, it’s beyond debate and they are playing with the jargons on other articles which concern the term of office. The term of office does not constitute the eligibility for someone to break the law and be sworn in for the third time and this must be made very, very clear to PF. It’s time they start looking for a candidate or else they will scatter in disarray,” Changala said.
Changala challenged the PF to show Zambians the ConCourt ruling which categorically stated that President Lungu was eligible to stand in 2021.
“Any law abiding judge and any law abiding chairman of ECZ cannot accept any paper from President Edgar Lungu. He can’t because the law says so. And I would challenge my colleagues in PF starting from the President to the last man in PF to show the people of Zambia the Constitutional Court ruling in Danny Pule and others, where it categorically and clearly states that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to stand. And the other angle is, President Lungu has never approached the bench to clarify his condition or state as regard to the 2021 elections. It was others and so there has never been any ruling or judgment concerning President Edgar Lungu and this sole candidate endorsement from the PF is ill conceived and it injures the general
membership of the party,” he said.
And Changala said as a lawyer, President Lungu knew that he was ineligible.
“President Edgar Chagwa Lungu says he is a qualified lawyer and lawyer par excellence. He must know by now that he does not qualify if he has read the law. He must know by now that he has been sworn in twice. These are facts and these are in the law. So President Edgar Lungu must stop going on podium and telling the people of Zambia that we are stuck with him. 2021 we are stuck with him, 2026 we are stuck with him. This country belongs to the collective sovereignty of the people of Zambia. It’s not his own territory which he can convince and kick around as and when he feels. He must obey the law. He must be custodian of the constitution and he must uphold the law at all times. Let him not get excited because this will land him in serious challenges.
He must start preparing for a successor within the PF. There are a lot of capable men and women who can take over from him. He must not impose himself against the law and against the Constitution,” said Changala.
“So my take on this is President Lungu does not qualify to stand. Two, the Constitution never made a declaration that he does qualify to stand and if my reading is incorrect, let them show us in the many pages of that judgment where it clearly states that he qualifies to stand because he didn’t serve more than three years as per the law. And where it says that being sworn in twice has been abolished by 2016 amended constitution. He must clearly state. So they are even in an illusion and they will get a rude shock because they are wasting time and they will lose time towards the elections. There will be a crisis when they will walk towards the judge, a reasonable judge for that matter who will not accept the nomination…I don’t think Judge Esau Chulu would entertain the papers that will come from President Lungu. No normal judge can do that.”