EASTERN Province PF chairman Andrew Lubusha says it is baseless to continue debating President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to contest the 2021 general election when the Constitutional Court has already declared him eligible.

And Lubusha has asked opposition political parties to leave the ruling party presidential candidate alone and concentrate on selling their own candidates, saying it is not their business who contests elections on the PF ticket.

Commenting on aspiring Kaumbwe Constituency PF member of parliament Moses Mutale’s advice to the ruling party that they should look for an alternative presidential candidate for next year’s presidential election in case the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) rejected President Lungu’s nomination papers, Lubusha dismissed the assertion and insisted that the Head of State remained eligible to contest.

“President Lungu remains our presidential candidate; our sole candidate for both party presidency and national Presidency is President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and he qualifies to stand in 2021 beyond any reasonable doubt. So, those debates of saying ‘President Lungu doesn’t qualify to contest elections next year’ are baseless, and that is coming from the opposition because they are scared of President Lungu. What is perplexing me even more is that if the opposition believe President Lungu is not a popular candidate, then why are they scared of him? It’s better they meet him head-on and defeat him in the election if they think he’s not popular. And for Mr Mutale, I don’t even understand what he smoked for him to come up with such suggestions of PF finding an alternative because he’s not a member of PF and it is not his place to tell us what to do,” Lubusha argued.

“PF has a competent central committee that can advise on such matters and the central committee has already settled for President Edgar Chagwa Lungu as our sole candidate and we have agreed as a party that he is our candidate. So, we wonder what the interest of people like Mr Mutale is in trying to advise us otherwise. For us, we have a super candidate whom we know is going to deliver victory to us in 2021. We don’t even have any interest whatsoever in finding any alternative candidate because we have a credible candidate who is the best-selling! In fact, President Lungu is the best candidate that the Patriotic Front can ever have and so we can only advise the opposition to leave our candidate alone and concentrate on selling their parties and candidates.”

He insisted that debate surrounding President Lungu’s eligibility was baseless at this point, arguing that the ConCourt had already declared him eligible to contest the next presidential election.

“President Lungu qualifies to stand next year, by law. For us, we believe in the rule of law and whenever we have misunderstandings or need interpretation, we run to the courts of law to help us adjudicate and the courts of law guided, clearly, that President Lungu qualifies to be a candidate for the elections next year. So, why must we start looking for an alternative candidate when the Court has already guided? The debates on President Lungu’s eligibility are now baseless because the ConCourt has already ruled, and for us, Eastern Province and the country at large, we are solidly behind President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and we are not going to look anywhere else for a candidate apart from President Edgar Chagwa Lungu,” Lubusha vowed.

He called on “all well-meaning Zambians to rally behind President Lungu” to ensure that he got “his second full-term of office”.

“We have absolute confidence in the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and we believe he’s one of the best Presidents we’ve ever had as a nation. So, I can only ask the entire nation to rally behind him because he means well. President Lungu took over power at a time when our local economy was down and a lot of challenges, but just look at how best he has tried to resolve the many challenges that were there the time he took over office,” claimed Lubusha. “Even now, there is COVID 19, which has affected our economy, but look at how many successes he has gained with his government in the fight against the pandemic to ensure that there is liquidity in our economy! So basically, we can only appeal to Zambians to give President Lungu his second full-term of office.”