THE Patriotic Front (PF) legal counsel has clarified that President Edgar Lungu is mandated by the party constitution to be in office for a full five-year term from the date of election during the November 30, 2014 convention.
The ruling party described as disgruntled and frustrated, members that are calling for a convention to be held before next year’s general elections.
The Constitution also allowed for another convention if the current party President was incapacitated and could not perform by virtue of mental or physical health, he decided to resign or through death.
Below is the full statement
LEGAL RESPONSE TO CALLS FOR A CONVENTION TO ELECT A PF PARTY PRESIDENT -BY PF LEGAL COUNSEL TUTWA .S. NGULUBE
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, this is my Legal response to the calls by some seemingly disgruntled and frustrated members calling for a Party Convention before Next year’s elections to elect another President of the Patriotic Front Party.
On the 30th November 2014 at the Mulungushi University I was privileged to officially handle the Bye election of the election of President of the Patriotic Front Party.
Eleven candidates had verbally expressed their intentions to stand as Presidential candidates but only president Edgar Chagwa Lungu met the election criteria enshrined in the Patriotic Front Constitution.
None but President Lungu turned up for the nominations just before elections and only President Lungu paid the none refundable fee of K20,000.00 required to be paid by all the candidates.
It was only President Lungu who even organised and presented 200 live supporters drawn from the 10 provinces before me the Returning officer after the announcement that all should do so. This means the rest of the candidates did not only fail to pay but even to present their 200 supporters.
President Lungu is the only candidate that filled in Nomination forms and declaration of intentions to stand as President during the bye elections.
Having been fully satisfied that only one of the 11 candidates was duly nominated and in line with the Constitution of the party I declared him unopposed and swore him in as President of the Patriotic Front Party for a term of 5 years.
According to the Patriotic Front Constitution the President carries a mandatory 5 year term from the date of election. This means that the President of Patriotic Front Edgar Chagwa Lungu was elected for a period of 5 years from the 30th November 2014.
This clearly does not make him eligible for another election before the 5 years mandate elapses.
The convention convened to elect a new president was an Extra Ordinary General Conference. According to the Patriotic Front Constitution all decisions of a General conference can only be overturned by another General conference.
The life span of a General conference is 5 years meaning that the next General Conference shall only be held after 5 years.What, then, will be the fate of the decisions made by the General Conference?
The decisions of the general conference equally have a lifespan that is untempered unless and until the said decisions are subjected to another General Conference for questions whether the said decisions should change.
A perusal of the PF Constitution reveals no short cut to the election of another president within a year.
What might be argued by fellow Legal minds is: But under what circumstances another election of the Party president can be held before 5 years?
My analysis is that only when the questions of :
(a) Incapacity to perform by virtue of mental or physical health of the Party President,
(b) Resignation of the Party President,
(C ) Death of a party President,
Other than these three I do not see how we can have calls for the election of a President when President Edgar Lungu remains PF PARTY president.
Let me state that there can only be an election if there is a vacancy in that office.
None of the three situations have arisen to create a vacancy and for as long as there is no vacancy, there will Not be another election of the President of the Patriotic Front Party.
The issue of who the rightful party President of the Patriotic Front is arose when a replica Convention was held by Dr. G. L. SCOTT on the 2st December 2014.
This question is now an academic one as President Lungu was subjected to the due process of the law and regulations and the High Courts and the Supreme courts of Zambia had occasion to adjudicate upon this question.
JUDGE I.C.T CHALI and JUDGE M.S. MULENGA presided over similar cases in the High Court.
The Judgment of Judge M. S. Mulenga at the Lusaka High COURT declared Edgar Lungu President of the Patriotic Front while judge CHALI dismissed the case for Miles Sampa saying it lacked merit.
The Supreme Court equally adjudicated upon this matter in a matter where Miles Emannuel Sampa appealed to the Supreme Court to challenge Judge MULENGA’S judgment and Judge Chili’s dismissal.
Both Appeals were heard together and refused and dismissed together.
He was unsuccessful. The supreme court refused to declare him President of the Patriotic Front because Judge Mulenga had already declared Edgar Lungu.
That Supreme Court judgment also heard the complaint by Miles Sampa that the procedure used to elect president Lungu was wrong. The courts did not agree with Mr. Sampa and the matter died having been fully determined by all the courts.
In conclusion, the calls for a convention to elect another party president are unfounded and unconstitutional and cannot be legally sustained. The President of the Patriotic Front Party remains Edgar Chagwa Lungu until the 30th November 2019.
I thank you all.
TUTWA SANDANI NGULUBE- ZAMBIAN
(LLB- UNZA)AHCZ, ASCZ
(AIHR,) GIZA, EGYPT.
LEGAL COUNSEL OF THE PATRIOTIC FRONT PARTY