We would like to draw the attention of our fellow citizens to our recent interview with the Secretary General of the Patriotic Front, Mr Davies Mwila, over President Edgar Lungu’s candidature for the 2021 general elections.
This interview, which our reporter Mirriam Chabala conducted on Saturday November 11, 2017 may appear like any other ordinary discussion; but it revealed the PF’s intentions and political agenda ahead of 2021.
For the benefit of those who did not have an opportunity to listen to the interview, our reporter wanted Mr Mwila to explain why the ruling party was insisting on President Lungu standing again, when the Head of State publicly stated that he would only go upto 2021.
Mr Mwila said the ruling party has already decided that President Lungu would be the candidate and nothing would stop him. He said, although the party would wait for the Constitutional Court to rule on the President’s eligibility, the judgment would not have any effect on the resolve made by the PF Central Committee.
Although, Mr Mwila refused to categorically state that the Constitutional Court judges who are presiding over the matter were wasting their time, even a dumb person could read that he was saying exactly that.
In our interview with Mr Mwila, we learnt that the PF doesn’t respect the autonomy of the Judiciary. We are told that the Central Committee of the ruling party made a decision that no judge can overturn. By saying that nothing will stop President Lungu from standing, Mr Mwila was telling the nation that if the Constitution becomes an impediment, it would be done away with until the party gets what it wants.
Why then do we have laws that we can’t follow? Why do we have courts and judges if judgments are not respected by those who are being cautioned? Isn’t this conduct by Mwila likely to cause a breach of the peace in our country? We ask because from our understanding, no matter how much the UPND central committee pushes Hakainde Hichilema to go and live in State House today, it will not happen because the law does not recognise him as Head of State. Therefore, we are at pains to appreciate the PF arrogance of saying President Lungu will stand in 2021, regardless of the court’s decision because the Central Committee has resolved so.
But this is only a small part of the big problem. Our main concern is that the PF seems to take it for granted that if President Lungu stood, he would be President until another election in 2026. For some reason, Mr Mwila is ignoring the fact that the people of Zambia will have to first vote for him in order for the President to continue in office. It is not Mwila alone, those who have thrown their weight behind President Lungu’s candidature are speaking as if the 2021 elections will be a formality exercise with an already determined outcome.
We noticed that it was difficult for the PF chief executive to state that, “if the court disqualifies Lungu, then we will pick another candidate”. It seems the PF Central Committee endorsed the incumbent because he is the only magician who can make it happen again, even against the will of the Zambian people. It’s like there is some spectacular voodoo that President Lungu performed in the last election that Mr Mwila and other top ranking PF officials want him to repeat.
But the PF determination to get President Lungu on the 2021 race, even before he gets midway into his 2016 course, does not come as a surprise to us. These are things we have written about before. Indeed, just like Mr Mwila and others, we also believe that the voodoo man can win it again. The humble great leader of this great country has the capacity to stay in power beyond 2021. All what the party needs to do is to pave way for him to enter the arena and perform his magic; they just need to get him on the ballot paper and the rest will be sorted systematically.
This is exactly the reason why we hoped that the Constitutional Court would be allowed to exercise its autonomy when adjudicating the eligibility case. We prayed that the law could first clear President Lungu to stand because we understand the power and influence that comes with a sitting candidate.
But since the PF Central Committee has already declared that President Lungu’s eligibility cannot be overturned by anyone, we can only hope that the Constitutional Court judges will have the decency of informing the nation that the ruling they are expected to make will not be theirs.
We can also add that since President Lungu’s participation and winning the 2021 elections is as certain as the food we eat coming out in a different form, we can only pray that no life threatening malaria touches him between now and 2026.