LUSAKA lawyer Milingo Lungu says there is no way the court would have declared President Edgar Lungu eligible because some criteria is only satisfied on nomination day.
And Kabwe Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube says Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa is being pushed by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.
On Monday, Sangwa said the moment President Edgar Lungu files his nomination to contest the August elections, he would have committed treason by attempting to seize power by unlawful means because he does not qualify.
But speaking in an interview, Wednesday, Lungu said the court dealt with the interpretation of a term of office, which clarified that the incumbent has not served two terms.
“It is a light moment because there is no seriousness in it. How can someone want to take over power from himself? He is eligible. The issue of eligibility, the only issue is whether he has served two terms or not has already been resolved. But eligibility is a criteria, like a checklist, for you to be eligible you have to be 35 years old, you should not be bankrupt, you should not be serving a sentence. Some of the criteria have to be met before nomination day, some of the criteria is only met on nomination day for example for a person to be able to contest they have to pay K150,000, a nomination fee so meaning that you can satisfy all other requirements but if you don’t have K150,000 or you don’t have the requisite number of supporters then you fail,” said Lungu.
“So and that is the reason why some people say ‘look, the court didn’t declare him eligible’ there is no way the court would have declared him eligible because some criteria is only satisfied on nomination day. But in so far as the criteria of whether or not he has served two terms, the Constitutional Court answered that to say that this term which he is serving now is only first term. So if Mr Sangwa has got other grounds to challenge on other than the issue of two terms, obviously the court will hear him. If he finds out for example that the President is not a Zambian I am sure they can take the challenge based on that but what he can’t do is to go back to court on the issue of whether he has served two terms or not. I think that will be abuse of the court process.”
And in a separate interview, Ngulube said Sangwa did not understand the offence of treason.
“John Sangwa does not understand the offence of treason. Because as far as we are concerned, elections are lawful and constitutional. For us Sangwa presented all those arguments that he is not eligible in the ConCourt, he lost, the court has come up with the judgement, [but] he is still talking about the President not being eligible so we are not being made to wonder what is he trying to do? He is trying to mislead the public. As far as we are concerned John Sangwa has no credibility left in him, he is the same person who insulted the judges saying they are not qualified but again he rushed to the same court to present his argument,” said Ngulube.
“The people of Zambia must start ignoring Sangwa because he is actually becoming a danger to himself and that is why in our view we feel John Sangwa is running mad or he is deliberately trying to forget that he lost in court. It is contemptuous for Sangwa to be ranting the way he is ranting and now we should start taking action because we have been ignoring him. There is an offence committed by attacking the Head of State, when we don’t take any action he thinks he can continue. What John Sangwa is trying to do is treasonable, he is trying to incite people to rise against a lawfully elected Head of State. [This matter] is being pushed by John Sangwa on behalf of Hakainde, because John Sangwa is Hakainde’s agent. He represented Hakainde Hichilema in ConCourt where he said the President didn’t win elections, he lost.”