THE ruling Patriotic Front (PF) insists that President Edgar Lungu qualifies to stand in next year’s presidential election.

On Thursday, The Mast published a story where a law lecturer at the University of Zambia contended that the Constitution does not allow President Lungu to contest again.

In his write-up titled: Why President Lungu is not eligible to contest for re-election in 2021, James Kayula warns that “Zambia faces a pernicious third term campaign and its far-reaching consequences”.

“Unlike the failed 2001 third term bid by the late president Frederick Chiluba, whose illegality was ‘naked’ to everyone’s eye, the current third term is subtle and benign as it presents itself in somewhat misplaced apparel of legitimacy provided by the Constitutional Court,” he wrote. “…Effectively, the interpretation of the Constitutional Court has the potential to rob the Constitution of this critical institutional barrier of term limit, and inadvertently and potentially re-introduce ‘life president’ and its dreaded evils. In the wake of legal advocacy and strengthening of the rule of law, this will not be allowed to pass.”

Reacting to Kayula’s argument, Lusaka Province PF secretary Kennedy Kamba insisted that the Constitutional Court had cleared President Lungu to contest in 2021.

“We want to warn James Kayula, a lecturer at the University of Zambia, and some opposition leaders that want to sway the minds of people into thinking that President Lungu is not eligible to stand in 2021, to stop their futile machinations,” he said in a statement. “There are other political commentators like John Sangwa and some political party leaders that have been attempting to influence the minds of people into falsely believing that President Lungu was not eligible to stand in 2021. Kayula, Sangwa and all those who claim to be pundits of the law must stop these ridiculous claims that President Lungu is going for a third term and that he is not eligible to stand in 2021.”

He argued that people opposed to President Lungu’s candidature were just bringing unnecessary debate.

“This issue was sorted and settled by the courts of law and we have all moved on as we campaign to have President Lungu re-elected in 2021. These people who are claiming that President Lungu is not eligible to stand are just trying to bring unnecessary debate and confusion because the highest courts of the land, the Constitutional Court interpreted the law accordingly and cleared President Lungu that he only served one term,’’ Kamba said. “The 2021 bid is the second term for President Lungu and not the third term as maliciously claimed by some haters. Zambians know very well that in December 2018, the Constitutional Court passed judgment and it was very clear that the first presidential tenure of President Lungu was from 25th January 2015 to 13th September 2016 and did not constitute a full term of office.”

Kamba said given the court ruling, the PF wondered why its opponents insisted on talking about President Lungu’s ineligibility.

“Given the background, we wonder as the PF that has adopted President Lungu to stand in 2021, why some of these so-called lecturers of law are trying to mislead the nation. We warn them to stop issuing incorrect statements because they are embarrassing themselves and we will not take them kindly as the PF,” said Kamba. “The law has provisions that will allow us to take action against them. We want to appeal to Kayula, Sangwa and all those who are excited and making weird claims about President Lungu’s eligibility, to begin to demonstrate sobriety because their hatred for President Lungu will not take them anywhere. President Lungu will be on the ballot come 2021. They must stop misleading the nation forthwith.”

On Wednesday, President Lungu also went with that narrative by telling traditional leaders in Mukushi district in Central Province that the Constitutional Court had cleared him to stand again.

President Lungu, who spoke mostly in Bemba, also accused the opposition UPND of misinforming the nation that he wanted to use the failed infamous National Assembly (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 to push for his eligibility.

“…pantu muli Bill 10 tamwaba icibi icalimo iyo. Ati muli Bill 10 muli third term ya Edgar Lungu, tamwaba third term mulya, iyo. Ba ConCourt batile Lungu acitafye one term, ukufuma mu 2016 ukufika lelo ine ni one term (…because in Bill 10 there was nothing bad. That in Bill 10 there is Lungu’s third term, there is no third term there.

The ConCourt said Lungu has just served one term, from 2016 to today I’ve just done one term),” said President Lungu.

“Ilya nabombele iyashile ba Sata one year six months teyandi yaba Sata, efyo balanda ku court. Nomba caisa kosa shani? Mu Bill 10 tamuli mulandu ati Lungu alefwaya ukubwelela imiku itatu, fyabufi. (The one-year six months that I served which Mr Sata left, it’s not mine but Mr Sata’s, that’s what the court said. But where is the problem? There is no issue in Bill 10, but people are saying that Lungu wants to go for a third term, those are lies).”


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