NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili has advised the Patriotic Front to find a replacement for President Edgar Lungu or risk having no candidate for the 2021 Presidential elections.
And Kambwili says threats from PF officials that they will start regarding constitutional lawyer John Sangwa State Counsel as a political opponent are unfounded.
In a statement to News Diggers, Kambwili advised PF to look for another candidate saying President Lungu was not eligible to run for another term of office.
“Without going into complex legal arguments which we are not qualified to delve into, a simple reading of the provisions of Article 106 (3) of our Constitution makes it very clear that President Lungu does not qualify to be on the ballot in 2021. The said Article states that, ‘a person who has twice held office as President is not eligible for election as President’. We have equally noted the flawed arguments as to Presidential terms of office by our colleagues in the Patriotic Front. Unfortunately for them, the Constitutional Court judgment they keep referring to does not help them in anyway as the issue of whether a period served of less than three years constitutes a term of office is not the issue at hand. This is simply because those provisions are only applicable to a sitting Vice-President elected as a running mate. And in any event, the Constitutional Court did not even deal with President Lungu’s eligibility in next year’s election,” Kambwili stated.
“We challenge anyone to show us one paragraph in that Judgment where the Court said President Lungu can go for a third term or be life President as he seems to so desperately desire. President Lungu has never been Vice-President of Zambia who was elected as a running mate of this country and as such, the Constitutional Court judgment is not helpful to President Lungu or the PF in anyway whatsoever. We have known about this position since the judgment of the Court was delivered and have been waiting for an opportune time to address this critical issue.”
Kambwili warned the PF not to settle for President Lungu as its candidate for 2021 at its upcoming July elective general conference or risk having no candidate at all.
“Allow me to categorically warn all PF members and the very few sympathisers that remain of the PF that PF will have no candidate in the 2021 election if the party insists on adopting Mr. Lungu at its convention. The country is reminded that under our electoral rules and practice, a candidate that misses an appointed time and date to file in his or her nomination cannot be given another time or day to file in nomination papers and the same applies to a party that chooses to sponsor an ineligible candidate such as President Lungu. PF therefore need to look for another candidate or can choose to escort the opposition to State House if they insist President Lungu who does not qualify to run for President again,” Kambwili stated.
The opposition leader also urged government and the PF to forget about passing Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10, saying that he was aware that the charade was aimed at amending the law and make President Lungu eligibile to stand in 2021.
“We are very aware and well informed from our colleagues in cabinet and the back bench of the PF that this whole Bill 10 agenda is an attempt to simply annihilate provisions that make it impossible for President Lungu to seek an illegal third term. President Lungu does not qualify to run for an illegal third term and doing so will simply end in humiliation and will spell the end of the PF as we know it today,” he charged.
Meanwhile, Kambwili urged PF secretary general Davies Mwila and the party’s media director Sunday Chanda to desist from insulting those with divergent views on President Lungu’s eligibility.
“The crude statements from the Patriotic Front including Davies Mwila and its media director Sunday Chanda directed at those that hold the correct view that President Lungu is not eligible to run for another term of office. We have always placed it on record that Mwila is literally the worst and most academically challenged secretary general any party in Zambia could hope for and has been the architect of the PF’s dramatic yet predictable downfall. It is shocking that he would characterize one of our most distinguished legal minds and Constitutional academics State Counsel [John] Sangwa as dull when the said characterization is very true about him. Threats by to treat State Counsel Sangwa as a political opponent are equally misplaced and have no basis in civil discourse. Mr. Chanda should learn to be mature and debate in a civil manner especially that he is student of the law,” stated Kambwili.