THE opposition DP says President Edgar Lungu, being a lawyer, knows too well that he does not qualify to contest the Republican presidency for a third time next year.

Party spokesperson Judith Kabemba, however, asserts that President Lungu is free to contest as Chawama ward three councillor or mayor of Lusaka, for he qualifies for those offices.

Lungu won the Republican presidency in January 2015 and retained it in August 2016.

Article 106 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia states that: “a person who has twice held office as President is not eligible for election as President.”

Nonetheless, the PF insists that Lungu would be its presidential candidate in August 2021 because ‘he has only served one term of office.’

Still on the strength of Article 106 (3), numerous stakeholders continue to argue that President Lungu would be abrogating the Constitution if he goes ahead with his third time presidential scheme.

Featuring on Joy FM radio’s Talking Point programme on Sunday morning, Kabemba said the Democratic Party (DP) could not understand why those in the PF kept on deliberately misinterpreting the law.

“The President has twice held office and he is not eligible to contest. If the PF is daring the Zambian people, let them proceed,” Kabemba said. “This matter was taken to court and it was looked at by the court and the courts have ruled. [But] the Zambian people have told President Lungu that ‘you do not qualify.’ If the PF feels that President Lungu still qualifies to contest, all we are telling them is that good luck. Let them take President Lungu to go and file in his nomination.”

She added that what would happen if/when President Lungu goes to file in his presidential nomination papers, “will teach them (PF) a lesson.”

“And it will be a lesson to other people as well. So, let them go!” Kabemba cautioned. “President Lungu understands these matters; you need to know that President is a lawyer – a qualified lawyer. What we are discussing here, he understands even better than me, because I’m not a lawyer. He is a lawyer [but] I’m a psychologist.”

Kabemba underscored that the President understands better the issue of his 2021 eligibility.

“He has read the law and he knows that he is not eligible to contest. But if the President wants to go, contrary to what the law says, let him go ahead. All I’m saying is that this is not a country of men. It is a country of laws,” Kabemba said. “And so if someone will go contrary to what the laws are saying, and bids for a third term, the law will follow them. And when that time comes…I mean, leaders should learn. President Lungu should check what happened to his predecessors.”

She further indicated that when President Lungu would be paying for his third term iniquity, even PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri: “who is saying that opposition is poking their nose in President Lungu’s eligibility, will not be there.”

“She will run away. And I want to tell the madam that we’ll not stop poking our nose in this business because this business concerns the people of Zambia,” Kabemba said. “We are not going to watch the Constitution being raped by people, even when they know that what they are doing is not right.”

She further invited Mumbi to a radio interview debate, on President Lungu’s 2021 eligibility.

“I’m asking that madam Mumbi Phiri; let us meet on this platform so that we can debate these issues. I don’t know from what angle Mrs Phiri is speaking from [on the eligibility issue],” she said.

“If she was speaking from an informed point, she would know that one of the roles of the opposition is to provide checks and balances to the ruling party. We have been providing checks and balances, even as far as the Constitution is concerned.”

Kabemba emphasised that: “President Lungu has held office twice and therefore is not eligible to contest in the forthcoming elections as President.”

“However, if the President so wishes to contest as a councillor for Chawama ward three, he is eligible. If the President desires to contest again as Chawama MP, he is eligible. If the President desires to contest as the Mayor of Lusaka, he is eligible” she mocked. “If the President desires to contest as a council chairperson in any of the councils, he is eligible. But contesting as Republican President, he is not eligible and that is why we are saying there shall be no third term.”

Kabemba pointed out that if the PF makes a mistake of fielding President Lungu as their candidate in 2021, “we are going to challenge that nomination in court.”

“We have seen lawyers like counsel [John] Sangwa who have said they are going to challenge the nomination. We also as Democratic Party are stating this morning that if the Patriotic Front makes that mistake of fielding President Lungu, we are going to challenge that in court,” Kabemba stressed. “What the Patriotic Front should be doing now is to begin looking for another [presidential] candidate. Let them go and find another candidate [because] President Lungu is not eligible.”

Meanwhile, Kabemba said young Zambians around the country should quiz those in the government about the pledges of thousands of jobs.

She charged that dictators purposefully impoverish people so that it could be easy to later manipulate those same people.

“This is what we are seeing happening; youths remaining jobless, women remaining with no empowerment so that when that time comes, they will tell them ati aneni (here is a) K20,” said Kabemba.


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