LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa says the Constitutional Court did not declare President Edgar Lungu eligible to stand in the 2021 general election, contrary to assertions that they did.
In an interview, Mwitwa said the controversial question relating to President Lungu’s eligibility was not yet over, and that Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa, State Counsel, was right to say that the matter could still be appealed in the Constitutional Court.
“You do recall that when that matter that touched on the eligibility of the President was in the Constitutional Court and we were represented by John Sangwa, State Counsel (S.C.), and the views that he took to court were the views of the Association. We, unfortunately, did not succeed with the matter, but I think from what he has been saying, that is an issue that can still go back to court at the appropriate time and the PF top leadership had also invited Mr Sangwa to go back in the Constitutional Court if he was unhappy with that decision,” Mwitwa said.
“When the elections are nearing and nominations are filed, there will still be an opportunity to ask the Constitutional Court to determine the eligibility of the candidates that will be floated by the various political parties. It is not a dead end; it is a matter that can still be revived. Remember that the President himself, President Edgar Lungu, was not a party to that particular action. So, there is an opportunity to take that to the Constitutional Court on the question of his eligibility when he files in his nomination to stand for President in 2021.”
He guided that the December 7, 2018, ConCourt ruling did not interpret specifically President Lungu’s eligibility to stand for a third-successive time at next year’s crucial election.
“…I don’t think that they (ConCourt) were asked to interpret, specifically, on the eligibility of President Edgar Lungu in 2021. Sangwa, S.C., who was representing LAZ, our argument then was that it was immature to start determining that question because there was no election that was being conducted at that time. It is the same thing with Bill 10; you remember when we went to court, we were told that, ‘no, we have come too early, this is just a Bill.’ Our understanding is that the Court said when it becomes law, you can come back and challenge. So, it is quite similar,” said Mwitwa.
As the debate over President Lungu’s eligibility rages on, PF secretary general Davies Mwila insisted in Lusaka, Monday, that the Head of State remained eligible to stand at next year’s general election.
Mwila also told journalists that the ConCourt had declared the Head of State eligible to stand despite having already been elected into office twice in 2015 and 2016.