Constitutional lawyer John Sangwa has insisted that President Edgar Lungu does not qualify to contest elections for the third time as the Constitution clearly bars him from doing so.
Sangwa says it will be interesting to see how the Electoral Commission of Zambia would handle President Lungu’s nomination papers, because the Constitution was very clear that he did not qualify for a third term.
Sangwa said what would be of interest is to see how Nshindando and Collegues at the ECZ would respond to this when President Lungu goes to file in his nomination papers as they had a right to reject them.
“What will be of interest is what Mr Nshindando and his colleagues will do when hopefully President Lungu files his papers. We will see what they are going to do because they have the right to reject the nomination papers so will see what they are going to do,” he said.
He said the Constitution does not talk about the number of years one has served but the number of times they are elected.
“I know people have various views but here is my view. You see when you read the language of the Constitution, it is very clear. The bottom line is this, President Lungu does not qualify to stand for elections in 2021. The issue is as simple as that,” Sangwa said. “It is the number of times you get elected.”
He said according to the Constitution, one was elected twice and they are done.
“The Constitution only expects you to get to contest or being elected twice. Once you have been elected twice, that’s it. You are done and that is still the position of the law,” Sangwa said. “They have totally missed it. The rationale for this, what it does provide is still limit. One can only be elected to office of a president twice. It doesn’t matter the number of years you serve. You can only be sworn in as President twice. No more than twice. You can’t have a third term. There is no provision for a third term in our Constitution.”
But the constitutional court ruled that the time Lungu served as president from 2015 to 2016 is not a full term.
The constitution court then said it would not address the specific question on whether Lungu qualifies to stand in 2021 or not because that question had become otiose (with no useful result;) because the court has already said the 2015 to 2016 tenure was not a full term.