I DON’T think President Edgar Lungu will impose himself on the people, let alone the embarrassment of having to be disqualified under a Constitutional Court decision, step aside ba President you have done your best, says 2021 presidential aspiring candidate Kelvin Bwalya Fube (KBF)
And Constitutional Lawyer John Sangwa SC says reports that he now needs police protection because he is under attack are a fabrication.
Meanwhile, Lusaka Central UPND aspiring candidate Mulambo Haimbe says by insisting that President Lungu is ineligible, UPND is only interested in upholding the rule of law, not that it is scared of facing him in 2021.
Speaking when the trio featured on Prime Television’s special program, Thursday, KBF who is a lawyer, said President Lungu had been elected twice, and therefore, could not stand in 2021.
“You cannot argue that the President did not hold office as I have heard some people arguing. Let’s be serious. In the current Constitution, Article 105 clearly states, as it did before, ‘how does a President assume office’? One, he gets elected, then he is sworn in by the Chief Justice or the deputy Chief Justice as the case may be. And then he assumes office. Did that happen for Edgar Chagwa Lungu in 2015 and in August 2016? Yes, twice. So he cannot say he has not been elected twice, he has. Therefore, he cannot run again, let’s be very clear,” KBF said.
“I’m appealing to the Patriotic Front to reconsider their faults on this position. For me, it has nothing to do with whether or not I am the presidential candidate or not. But also, PF may not be the only party that one uses to run for office, there could be another political party. We have a chance to redeem the situation within PF, correct the wrongs and give efficacy to what is due. Because PF is a party that is still in power and is still viable if certain decisions are changed. But if that doesn’t happen, the doors are open.”
He urged the Head of State to step aside.
“I am still pleading. I know that the Patriotic Front possesses internal mechanisms. I know that when tabled and argued in a proper calm, collected manner, this matter will be resolved. I don’t think, to the best of my ability, that my elder brother, my President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, will impose himself on the people if he feels personally that he might not go in line with the Constitution. Let alone just the embarrassment of having to be disqualified under a Constitutional Court decision. I think it is unnecessary, and I think he has done his best, we are not short of leaders in this country, it is best to just step aside. Step aside ba President. You have done your best, we will salute you and will say ‘go and retire, we will look after you’. But for this period now, leave it to us now to do the fighting,” KBF said.
“The PF should avoid finding itself in a catch-22 situation where you can elect a president under the PF constitution who automatically becomes a republican presidential candidate but can’t stand because the Constitution will bars him. That’s a catch-22. Why do you (President Lungu) want to get into that? Why do you want to go to the convention when you know the Republican Constitution will tell you ‘no, bwana you cannot?’ Why put the party into that inconvenience?”
On Bill 10, KBF said the debates were unnecessary at the moment because Zambia had bigger problems like the ailing economy, insisting that Zambia needed a new commander.
“I have refused to debate Bill 10 at every fora I have been asked to debate because it is not necessary right now. We have economic problems, economic challenges far much deeper than Bill 10. If we want to discuss Bill 10, let’s discuss it after the elections. Bill 10 right now for me, is a waste of time and we are just incurring expenses for nothing. Discussing it, I have refused. I would rather discuss coronavirus, the creation of jobs. That is more important to Zambian people than Bill 10,” he said.
“For me, the kind of leadership that we need now is a leadership that is going to focus on the creation of jobs for the youths, a leadership that is going to focus on the respect for the rule of law [and] governance issues. Corruption is dangerous, its a cancer. It eats at every aspect of our wellbeing as a nation. Our procurement must be changed and streamlined. I want us to nip all these problems in the bud. I know the opposition on the other side will take advantage of certain failures in the current dispensation, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t fight back. I think we have enough weapons to fight, its the question of ‘who is leading this army’. We need a new commander.”
And Sangwa also insisted that President Lungu was not eligible to stand in 2021.
“All those that are lying to President Lungu that he is eligible, the point is that he is not eligible. By the way, even if we take out President Lungu, we put president HH, the argument will still be the same. Because the law should not shift or change because of an individual, we are looking at the supremacy of the law. Even if, [it is] president HH [who] was elected in 2015 and also 2016, he would still not be eligible to stand in 2021,” Sangwa said.
The Constitutional lawyer said courts were not immune to criticism because they were humans who could breach the law.
“Of course there are limitations on how much you can discuss a matter from the courts. The only time you are limited, or stopped from discussing a matter is when it is active in court. Right now, the matter (eligibility case) is over. The courts sat and delivered its judgement. Once it is done, anybody is at liberty to express his opinion on that judgement. We are at liberty to criticize it, to break it down, to analyse it and to say whatever we want to say because courts are not immune from criticism. Rule of law equally extends to the courts. Nobody is above the Constitution. So even if the courts themselves breached the law, remember they are human beings, they can also make mistakes, we have the liberty to be able to talk about it,” Sangwa said.
He said reports that he now needed police protection because he was under attack, were a fabrication.
“I know people are saying ‘I need police protection’ so forth, these are all fabricated stories. I don’t think that we live in a police state or in a failed state. And I think that is how a democracy is supposed to be. We exchange ideas in a civil manner and at the end of the day, we agree to disagree in a civil way. But my plea to the political parties, first of all, we have to decide and do what is in the best interest of the country. Because before you can have a political party, there has to be a country first. We must show reverence and respect for the Constitution. Short of that we are going to descend into the state of lawlessness. Above all, let us be patriotic and put Zambia first before UPND and PF, then everything else will be possible,” said Sangwa.
Meanwhile, Haimbe who is also a lawyer, said UPND believed in the rule of law.
“This issue of eligibility and so on, is a Patriotic Front issue at the end of the day. Much as it has national repercussions. It’s an individual choice that a reflection has to be made. In as far as other citizens are concerned who do not ascribe to this issue of the incumbent being eligible, when we talk about the opposition parties, we are willing to deal with any candidate that comes our way from the ruling party. At the end of the day, we are dealing with a political party and not an individual per se,” said Haimbe.
“It’s not even about being scared of any particular candidate, we are a party that believes in the rule of law. So when we see an issue that has got potential consequences on how the supreme law of the land is interpreted, it is our duty as law abiding citizens and as persons who believe in the rule of law to add our voice to the arguments that are being put there in order to have a clear position of law. It’s not about an individual. As a political party, we are ready to face any opponent that comes our way.”