Constitutional Court Has Reserved Ruling in President Edgar Lungu’s Eligibility Case
The Constitutional Court has reserved ruling in President Edgar Lungu’s Eligibility case to a date to be announced.
In this matter, four political parties namely Christian democratic party, Zambia republican party, new congress party and citizens democratic party are seeking the court’s interpretation of the constitution with regards President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to stand in the 2021 elections.
When the matter came up for the continued hearing today, one of the the petitioners lawyer, Chewe Bwalya, argued that the submission made by Law Association of Zambia lawyer John Sangwa stating that ‘there was nothing to interpret in Article 106 of the Constitution’ was misleading because the article did not expressly provide for how President Lungu’s alleged inherited term was to be treated. Mr Bwalya reiterated that a full term should be five years.
“The provision does not state how a person, like the incumbent, who has served an inherited term of less than three years is to be treated,” he said.
He said this matter was seeking to interrogate whether President Lungu’s initial term that cut across two constitutional dispensations could be taken into account.
And another petitioners’ lawyer Dickson Jere argued that if the drafter of the Constitution wanted to exclude President Lungu, they should have put clear provisions the way they did in 1991 and 1996 to deal with then President Kenneth Kaunda.
“If Parliament meant to exclude President Lungu, they ought to have done so with clear provisions. Our submission is that President Lungu’s term between 2015 and 2016 does not constitute a term. It falls below the threshold of three years. Therefore his term began in 2016 which makes him eligible to contest, ” Jere said.
And commenting on whether the petitioners had a standing in the matter, another petitioners’ lawyer Milingo Lungu argued that the case was brought in public interest and therefore the public had the right to know whether President Lungu was eligible to stand or not.
He said the petitioners had demonstrated their standing in the matter as citizens and it was important that the public was enlightened.
Mr Lungu added that the question of whether President Lungu’s first term should be counted as a full term should be answered in the negative whereas the question of whether the President was eligible to contest in 2021 should be answered in the positive.
President of the Constitutional court Hildah Chibomba has since reserved ruling in the matter and announced that the court would communicate the date for the judgement.
And when reached for a comment after adjournment, two of the four petitioners Daniel Pule and Peter Chanda expressed satisfaction that there lawyers have done a good job and can only hope for the best.