MALAMBO Patriotic Front member of parliament Makebi Zulu has insisted that the Constitutional Court settled President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility case.
Last week, the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) said the ConCourt did not deal with the eligibility case of President Lungu.
And PF chairperson for legal affairs Brian Mundubile said the ruling party agreed with the LAZ position that the ConCourt did not deal with President Lungu’s eligibility for the 2021 election, but insisted that President Lungu was eligible to stand as he would only have served one term in office by then.
But in an interview, Zulu said the ConCourt specifically dealt with the issue of President Lungu’s eligibility in the case which was before them.
“I do not want to be seen to be contradicting what my colleagues are saying but when the question of eligibility was brought before the ConCourt, it was specifically relating to Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Then the court said; ‘you have phrased the questions in this manner; this is a very important issue we do not want to personalize what is going to come out of this because this is going to bind everyone. In that case, we are going to depersonalize the question and take out the name Edgar Lungu but still deal with the questions anyway.’ So in dealing with that question, they dealt with the circumstances which relate to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. They went to define a term and went to define what eligibility in those circumstances was. Of course, they did not deal with the issue of citizenship, there are other criteria of eligibility that are there,” Zulu said.
“In so far as the court is concerned, in that particular judgment, is that a person who has served less than three years, [it] cannot be deemed to be a term. Now, if you get that judgment and apply it to the person of President Lungu, does he qualify in those circumstances? The answer is yes, he does qualify in those circumstances. So if you are going to look at this in terms of whether the court named President Lungu in their discussions, I would say they did not name him because they chose to depersonalize him because that judgment was not only binding on President Lungu, it is supposed to bind everyone. So they looked at the general circumstances of the case. And if you are going to apply those circumstances to President Lungu, it fits. So in this particular case, President Lungu’s issue of eligibility in so far as the judgment is concerned and application to his circumstances, he does qualify.”
Zulu said there was no need to go back to court because President Lungu’s eligibility case was settled.
“We are not going back to court. What I have said is that the court set out what the circumstances are and the issue is when we apply those issues to President Lungu, he does qualify. There is no need to go back to court. That is why I keep insisting that this issue of eligibility of any person for that matter who falls in those circumstances, does that person qualify? The answer is yes. And the only person to whom those circumstances currently can be applied is President Lungu, there is no other person whose circumstances fit in that position. Maybe there will be in future, we anticipate that such a situation would arise,” said Zulu.
“And what the ConCourt was saying is that ‘let us not deal with this issue as it relates to President Lungu, let us deal with it conclusively to set the law straight so that the next person who comes does not need to go back to court to say, do I qualify?’ In this particular case, the court has settled this issue in relation to President Lungu, in relation to any other person in the Future whose circumstances may be similar to those that are currently prevailing in relation to President Lungu.”