Edgar Lungu is constitutionally ineligible to stand in 2021. This is the simple unvarnished truth. The sooner he comes to terms with reality, the better for his party the Patriotic Front, but more importantly for our nation. There’s no need for Edgar to morph! He has run his race. Our country’s democracy and future is by far better without this man-made chaos he’s hatching. Why should we head into the 2021 elections navigating the minefields of illegibility with a leader trying to force himself on the ballot through incumbency? Edgar’s push for third term is nothing but entrenching a cult of strongman regime, a cult of mediocrity!

As we have stated before, Edgar is not eligible to stand and the Constitution is clear.

Edgar has been elected to the office of President of the Republic of Zambia twice. And he has been sworn in as President twice – first in January 2015 and again in September 2016 – serving two terms as President.

The issue of his first term being less than three years does not arise or apply here. It arises when or applies to a person who assumes the office of President as Vice-President, without being elected, when the President dies, resigns or is removed from office for any reason. Edgar did not assume office as Vice-President and without elections in 2015. He contested presidential elections twice – in January 2015 and in August 2016 – and won both times.

Edgar first held office from January 2015 to August 2016. He was again sworn in in September 2016 and is currently holding office till his mandate expires next August.

The Constitution of Zambia, the supreme law of the land, clearly states in Article 106 (3):

“A person who has twice held office as President is not eligible for election as President”.

Anything beyond this, therefore, would be unconstitutional. Simple. Clear. Straightforward.

But it’s very clear that Edgar and his minions are trying to hang on to a very thin thread to have a third term of office. The definition of a term he is trying to hang on to doesn’t apply to him. Edgar did not assume power in his first term of office under the current Constitution. It was under the previous one. The previous Constitution had no provision for a running mate and therefore whenever the office of the President fell vacant, there had to be presidential elections within 90 days. Under the current Constitution, the Vice-President takes over without elections. And the ‘not less than three years’ definition of a term of office was meant for this and not for the way Edgar assumed office.

It is this realisation that prompted them to introduce Bill 10. The main purpose of Bill 10 was to ‘cure’ this and give Edgar a chance to go for a third term of office.

This is why they tried even the impossible to get Bill 10 through.

We warned that even with the death of Bill 10, Edgar wouldn’t give up. And now he’s claiming the Constitutional Court cleared him to stand in 2021!

Edgar doesn’t give up on what he wants, whatever the obstacles, legal or otherwise.

But it’s always advisable to tread carefully. Lungu should concentrate his efforts on mapping his safe exit from power. A safe landing back into civilian life is a far better choice than a soiled legacy.

Let Edgar choose peace over his personal appetite for power.

As Herbert Hoover noted, “Peace is not made at the council table or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.”


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