LAZ disappointed ConCourt decided against its ‘sound arguments’ in Lungu eligibility case

Law Association of Zambia president Eddie Mwitwa says the lawyers’ body is disappointed that the Constitutional Court judgment did not go their way.

Commenting on the ConCourt’s judgment, which declared that President Edgar Lungu’s term which ran from January 2015 to September 2016 was not a full term, making him eligible to contest the 2021 Presidential elections, Mwitwa said LAZ believed that its arguments were sound.
“We are disappointed that the decision didn’t go our way as LAZ because we were a party to the matter and believed that our arguments were sound and we hoped the court would see the matter from our perspective but that was not to be. We are looking to studying the judgment,” said Mwitwa yesterday.

On Friday, the ConCourt said President Lungu did not serve two full terms.

The court’s finding meant that President Lungu can contest the 2021 Presidential elections.

In this case, Dan Pule of the Christian Democratic Party, Wright Musoma of Zambian Republican Party leader, Peter Chanda, the New Congress Party leader, and Robert Mwanza of the Citizens Democratic Party petitioned the court to interpret whether President Lungu was eligible to contest the 2021 Presidential elections.

ConCourt president Hildah Chibomba sitting with judges Annie Sitali, Mungeni Mulenga, Enock Mulembe, Palan Mulonda, Professor Margaret Munalula and Martin Musaluke, said President Lungu’s term in office as President, which straddled two Constitution regimes did not amount to a full-term.

Justice Chibomba explained that President Lungu’s first term of holding Office of President, which stretched from January 2015 to September 13, 2016 did not constitute two full terms of office.

According to the court, the term which President Lungu inherited from late president Michael Sata following the latter’s demise was only one year, six months and that he could have been deemed to have served a full term if he had served the substantial part of it for at least three years.

Justice Chibomba said the Constitution should be read holistically, saying Article 106 (3) which talks about a term of five years cannot be read in isolation with Articles 106 (1) (6) which talk about serving below three years and above.

“A full term of office is any period of three years and above and while a period of three years and below three years is not a full term of office,” justice Chibomba adding that: “In light of the position that we have taken as regards the second question (whether President Lungu is eligible or not), it has become otiose and we shall not consider it.”

Source: The Mast

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