CHARLES Milupi says President Edgar Lungu has done his two terms and must therefore step aside and let others lead.
And Milupi says the Head of State should not fool himself that he is popular and must learn from history by asking Rupiah Banda.
During a special programme on ZNBC last Thursday, President Lungu said it would be better to have a one-off 10-year presidential term.
He also said he was ready to contest the 2021 elections should the courts say so.
“I’m interested. Obviously, 10 years is perhaps the best time that you can have to deliver and I was sharing with President Uhuru [Kenyatta] over this same one to say why don’t they just give us 10 years and we go? One term [of] 10 years and you go! Because at that point, you’ll not be worried about re-election – you’ll focus on growth of the economy, you’ll focus on serious issues. But what is happening is that immediately you go in there, people begin challenging you and you begin defending yourself like you are in boxing match. At the end of the day you do much work but that’s food for thought coming from me,” said President Lungu. “But come 2021, my brother, if the matter in court says I’m ineligible, I’ll not be eligible, if the court says I’ll be eligible, I’ll be eligible and I don’t know why this is becoming a very difficult issue. For me, I believe in rule of law, I believe that the law is made by Parliament, I believe that the law is interpreted by the courts of law [and] the law is enforced by us as the executive – basic understanding of separation of power and democracy. But in the process, we are also entitled to checks and balances, we check each other and say ‘excuse me, what’s going on.’ I think that is how our democracy is structured, our governance system is structured. So, there is no harm in talking about the judiciary, there is no harm in talking about the legislature, there is no harm in talking about the executive. Why should it be the executive to be always lambasted and criticised and accused of wrong-doing?”
But Milupi said the constitution was clear on President Lungu’s status regarding the 2021 election and that had nothing to do with his unproven popularity.
“It is not a question of popularity; it’s the question of the law. This is what [former US president Barack] Obama said before the election, he said he was a very popular man and had done very well and if he stood, he could have won but he said ‘I cannot serve because I have done my two terms’,” Milupi said. “That’s what the constitution says. The matter went to court a long time ago but the Constitutional Court sat on it. Now he goes to appoint more judges and then they are told to wait so that those judges can be placed and matters can go to court. He can fool some people most of the time but he can’t fool all of us all the time. We know what he is doing with the Constitutional Court, we know what his plans are; it will not serve him. He should not establish a precedent that will be held in disgust throughout the future of this country.”
He urged President Lungu to take a leaf from what happened to Banda, who thought he was popular until he was voted out of office.
Milupi said the sufferings of Zambians and the corruption in the ruling party were evident that President Lungu’s days were numbered.
“He has done his two term, let him step aside. Those that have grown maize where I am passing through are still keeping their maize, hoping for a better price. It cost K75 to grow one bag of maize but they are being made to sell it at K45 and some K35. The E-voucher is totally collapsed and has not been able to take off. There is no fertiliser, no employment as students are being paid, salaries for civil servants are delayed perennially and there is no increase rather than the 10 per cent he has promised,” he said. “There is so much corruption; the fire tenders are the daily talk even in villages, the prices for the ambulances, we have never seen a President more riddled with scandals than this one. It’s a naivety of its kind to even think that he is popular. Mr Rupiah Banda used to say the same things. He accumulated so much money to throw in the campaign but where did that take Rupiah Banda? His billboards were all over, every little project will have a billboard of Rupiah Banda to say your government is working but where did that take him? He should learn the lesson of history, there is no popularity.”
Milupi further said Zambians were looking forward to a country where laws were respected.
“All we want is Zambians must return to being a government of laws, a nation of laws where laws and the constitution are respected. You can get even Obama, he can be popular in Zambia, if he came here he can win an election but he can’t say the people of Zambia don’t want me as Obama to go and stand in Zambia because they are afraid of me; we are not afraid of him but the law does not allow him,” he added, “He is not a citizen, the law does not allow this man; he has done his two terms. In any case, we are still waiting for the resolution of the petition. With him the 2021 election should not even be in the picture.”
And commenting on President Lungu’s statement that he was a popular man and ready to stand in 2021, Milupi, the ADD leader, said the declaration was naïve and misleading.
He said under the current unbearable and harsh economic situation, it was naïve for President Lungu to declare that he was popular.
“There is absolutely no popularity for him at all in this country. He is fooling himself if he thinks he is popular. Right now, I am in a rural area where people are suffering, there is so much hunger,” said Milupi, adding that the nation was aware of President Lungu’s schemes regarding his eligibility to stand in 2021 but warned he would not fool all Zambians.