By: Anthony Bwalya – UPND Member.
Let’s be very clear: The current, reignited debate about whether or not President Lungu is eligible to contest the 2021 general election is not about Edgar Lungu the person. This is about protecting the character and integrity of our constitution.
One may now begin to get a good sense of why PRESIDENT Lungu and the PF were in a hurry to sign the 2016 Constitution amendment bill into law…They knew he would irregularly benefit from it.
Mr. Lungu’s initial Presidential bid and subsequent election to office was held under the 1996 constitution.
President EDGAR Lungu was initially elected in 2015 line with articles 35 (2) and 38 (1) of the 1996 constitution.
His first tenure of office was fully served as per foregoing articles. There is NO question about this.
Article 106 (3) of the 2016 constitution further gives credence to the spirit of articles 35(2) and 38(1). The spirit of article 106(3), in my view, is dispel any doubts about past or historical presidential tenures which may not meet the criterion set out in Article 106(1).
But Article 106(2) clarifies the issue of tenure by defining holding office as “having been sworn into office and ending at the start of the next general election.”
Those of our colleagues in the PF saying H.E. President Lungu qualifies to contest the 2021 general election are solely relying on a single Article, being 106 (1).
Personally, I feel the Concourt erred by ignoring Two (2) facts:
1. That President Lungu was elected under the 1996 constitution as per articles 35(2) and 38(1)
2. By failing to correctly interpret Articles 106(2) and (3), as well as not having delved into the spirit of these two sections under 106.
For me, President Lungu will be committing a heinous crime against Zambians if he decides to run for what would be a 3rd term