By Diggers Editor,

11th July 2024


BY virtue of my upbringing and as a former president, I am not a person of empty rhetoric, open lies and hot false stories, I always try to be politically honest and factually respectful in my engagements. As you all may remember, in 2016 after the dissolution of Parliament, all cabinet and deputy ministers remained in office as the new law was ambiguous. We were heavily criticised and after a legal battle, the Courts of Law made a ruling that the stay was illegal, and all allowances and salaries accrued during the stay were to be paid back. The December 2016 judgment is testimony to the effect that, during my time, the judiciary was fully independent and operated freely even by making decisions against my own government. We never interfered with them but simply respected them as a separate wing of government in a functional democracy”.

This a claim from former president Edgar Lungu. As we stated in yesterday’s editorial opinion in which we pointed out the deception of this current government, politicians are liars. In the case of Mr Lungu, apart from being a self-acclaimed top-notch lawyer, he is also a well renowned top-notch liar. Everything in the statement that Mr Lungu makes above is false and we can’t imagine that he expects citizens to forget so soon what he did in government. This particular president did not only interfere in the Judiciary, he actually threatened judges and breached the Constitution on several occasions.

From the onset, Mr Lungu’s presidency was shrouded in dishonesty. Zambians will remember that he used the Judiciary to hoodwink his political opponent, conniving with some lawyers to circumvent justice through a bogus consent order that imposed him as a presidential candidate for the Patriotic Front. His disregard for the Constitution became more clear after he ascended to power. Following the outcome of the 2016 general elections, the UPND filed a petition in the Constitutional Court against the election of President Lungu. According to the law, once a petition is filed in court challenging the results, a sitting Head of State must step aside during the time of hearing the presidential petition, while the Speaker of the National Assembly presides over the Executive arm of government. Another law had also been passed stating that upon the dissolution of Parliament, ministers must vacate office. Mr Lungu defied both of these laws. He ordered ministers to stay in office, saying he knew the law better. This position was against the advice of the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka SC who made it clear on ZNBC TV that no minister would be expected to stay in office. It was surprising that Mr Lungu refused to obey the laws which he approved himself in the amended Constitution.

To this day, the Judiciary has not offered an explanation for why Mr Lungu was not legally sworn-in by the Chief Justice in 2016. But we can speculate that because of his disrespect for the Judiciary and his desperate desire to cut corners, the Chief Justice did not want to entangle herself in illegalities.

Leading up to the 2021 elections, an issue arose around whether Mr Lungu, having been twice sworn in as President, was still eligible to contest the next elections. This man could not wait for his eligibility matter to be heard and determined. While addressing the nation through the press in Solwezi, Mr Lungu issued threats to the Constitutional Court judges, warning that if they ruled against him, the country would be plunged into chaos. With the Coat of Arms flying beside him, reminding him of his mandate to defend the Constitution, Mr Lungu said he would not allow regime change in Zambia because according to him, it was being instigated by foreigners. He ordered the judges not to act according to the People’s will but in the interest of peace.

This is what he said: “To my colleagues in the Judiciary, my message is just do your work. Don’t become a copycat and think that you are a hero if you plunge this country into chaos. I am just warning you because I have received information that some of you want to be adventurous, your adventure should not plunge us into chaos, please! I want to make it very clear. People are saying Zambian courts should be brave and make decisions which are in the interest of the people but look at what’s happening in Kenya now. I am saying the courts of law in Zambia should also see what’s happening, they should not behave like they are not part of our African continent. The most important thing I can say now is, 2021, I am going to stand if my party chooses me. I am saying this in front of you people because there are cameras in front of me, I have heard some judges say ‘why don’t we emulate the Kenyan courts? They are very brave’, I don’t think that is right.”

How did Mr Lungu hear what the judges were saying? Where did he get the information that Zambian judges were plotting to emulate the decision made in Kenya? This happened because Mr Lungu controlled the Judiciary. He did not observe any separation of powers. In fact, State House under Mr Lungu revealed to the public that judgements of the court were passed on to them before they were announced. When we asked Mr Lungu’s spokesperson why the Head of State took up the role of the Finance Minister to personally sign a sovereign guarantee for STAG African Renewable Energy to raise US$500 million on behalf of Zesco, we were told that the President was aware that the Constitutional Court would rule against the ministers’ stay in office the next day.

When we look at all this, we find it baffling that a man in Mr Lungu’s position could be saying, without shame, that under his reign he did not interfere in the decisions of the Judiciary. We recall that when Mr Lungu threatened judges, many organisations, including LAZ, TIZ, NGOCC and other prominent citizens condemned him and called on the court to hold him in contempt. When he comes back to the political arena to fool Zambians that he was a respecter of the rule of law, these organisations should remind him that he is a liar.

The truth is that Mr Lungu threatened the Constitutional Court and forced judges to declare him eligible to contest future elections. What he did is equivalent to Mr Hakainde Hichilema telling judges today that if they rule in favour of Mr Lungu, there would be chaos in the country. So it is good that the Constitutional Court has decided to hear the former President’s eligibility case.


  1. Lungu’s rise to power in 2016 was a bloodless coup d’etat. There is no other way to describe it.

    There was an active petition in court challenging the election result, but he continued to declare himself head of state regardless of the surrounding concerns.

  2. Amalabishi from Diggers. What is currently happening in the Judiciary at the moment is pathetic.
    Everyone can see there’s something very wrong with our Judiciary, legislature and executive …

    • Hallucinating Hypocrite ba PF idiot imwe still feeding on lifeless PF carcass with false hope of survival. Your Edgar Lungu threatened Judges in his eligibility case, period! Abash guntrotting and Panga Wielding PF criminals for good.

  3. Going Kenya way was one of the threats to our Zambian judges.Meaning they would be fired or retired.In Kenya some judges were remove from work at one time.Threats of emulating that Kenyan method promised to judges if the y ruled contraly.


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