KATUBA UPND member of parliament Aubrey Kapalasa says it’s not true that he is being used by PF, further stating that it was a typographical error when he argued in his court documents filed in the Constitutional Court that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to contest this year’s election.
Meanwhile, Kapalasa has sought the court’s permission to make some amendments to the said case where he is seeking an interpretation of certain provisions in the current Constitution on whether President Lungu is eligible to run as a Presidential candidate for the third term in this year’s election.
Among the amendments is that “it is his belief, which had been fortified by legal consultation from within and out of Zambia, that President Lungu is not eligible to run as a candidate in the 2021 General Elections”.
In an interview earlier on Thursday, Kapalasa said his earlier argument that ‘President Lungu is still eligible to contest the elections’ was a typo and that he regretted that it came out that way.
He added that according to him, President Lungu was not eligible to contest in the upcoming general election.
“That was a typo and this morning, it’s being corrected. I will be filing in this morning to amend that issue, it was a typo. I regret that it actually came out like that. Sometimes when you read on the computer you think [everything is okay but] then when you print, you find that there is a problem. Now how did that typo problem come in? You see, the first time I filed in that [case] was in 2017, [so] it is like that is what I said. And we picked the same information that I did on the first one. So, we corrected on the computer but when we printed out, we forgot to change. Instead of going through, we just signed and filed in [court]. That is where the problem was. So I am correcting that and I am sending that to you. If you check where there is that typo error, if you read the content of the summon, the content is very different from what I said there. It is just contradicting with each other. I am telling you now that Lungu is not eligible to stand in 2021, that is my point,” Kapalasa said.
He explained that he had decided to commence the said action now because he didn’t want it to suffer the same fate as the election petition in 2016, which he said was thrown out without being heard.
The parliamentarian invited those who wanted to join his matter to do so.
“This matter has been in court for a long time now. I can tell you that the only reason why I have decided to go to court is because the PF after having their convention have decided to pick President Lungu as their sole candidate. We have heard the experts, lawyers saying that ‘Lungu is not eligible to stand, they are going to petition him’. Why wait for that period? I want to take you back to 2016. In 2016 there was the petition, what happened to the petition? We heard there were lacunas. The Constitution says we as Zambians are supposed to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution. So why do we want to wait for the same thing to happen? Remember there was no interpretation of the 14 days,” Kapalasa said.
“So why should I wait for Lungu to file in? They say in English ‘once bitten twice shy’. We were already bitten that time. If you ask those people, they don’t know what happened. The petition was thrown out, it was never heard. So do we want to go through the same process? So if Sangwa and the rest of them think that, I know they have brilliant ideas, they should join. They should become applicants and fight this together. I have not filed in [the action] as honourable, I have filed in as Bampi. That is how I filed in again in 2017, as Bampi Kapalasa, a concerned citizen.”
Kapalasa added that it was important for the country to know whether or not President Lungu was eligible to contest the election before he filed in his nomination.
“Once Lungu files in, they will start printing the ballot papers. Already our money is gone. So why not, as Zambians who are concerned about our Constitution, why not move the courts so that before the elections we already know? Under the 1996 Constitution President Lungu became President. In 2016, there was a vacancy. PF sat and they picked Lungu as their sole candidate to stand in that election. Then he was sworn in, then he held office and he performed his duties as the Republican President. Until we got to the 2016 Constitution where he assented and it was amended,” he said.
“Now we are in the 2016 Constitution. Can the law act retrospectively? No it can’t! The Constitution does not change, we just amend. So the simple question I am asking the court is that ‘Lungu stood once in 2015 under the 1996 constitution, that is first term, then the second term Lungu stood in 2016’, the question is that ‘can he go for the third term’? That is my question.”
Kapalasa further said he was still in good standing with the UPND and that he was not being used by the PF to push an agenda.
“We are in good books with the party, I am actually going for interviews. I have not done anything wrong. It is my right. I have not involved the party because once I involve the party it will be politicised. We are in very good standing with the party and they are right to distance themselves from what I have done. In 2017 when the courts asked me to do a joinder with the Dan Pule case, I refused I said ‘no! that one at the look of things is being politicised’. Them they were seeking for interpretation of a term, me I was seeking for when you are sworn once, twice, can you be sworn in for the third time? If you hold office once or twice can you hold office for the third time? That is what I am seeking from the courts. As long as we don’t get these things done and wait for Lungu to file in, we will still go back to the same thing that happened in 2016. So, people need to differentiate between defending the Constitution and party politics. Yes, I am an MP but here I am not standing as an MP, I am standing as a concerned citizen,” he said.
“So rumours that I am being used by the PF are lies. In 2019 when UPND adopted me, there was an issue of me being PF, ‘he won’t stand, PF is using him and UPND will have no candidate’. What happened? I stood. When Bill 10 came, they said that ‘Bampi had voted for Bill 10, he is PF’ but did I vote for Bill 10? No! I did not vote for Bill 10. It is just people who are misunderstanding, they are trying to politicise these things.”