The Law Association of Zambia has challenged President Edgar Lungu and the PF top leadership to distance itself from Paul Moonga’s proposal to extend the term of office for elected officials from five to seven years.
LAZ President Linda Kasonde said Mr. Moonga’s proposal is threatened assault on the constitutional right and freedom of Zambians to elect and remove elected leaders.
Ms. Kasonde said LAZ is gravely concerned by Mr Moonga’s proposal and is of the considered opinion that the purported rational for this proposal which is that it is expensive to hold elections every five years is flawed.
She said in a democracy, a government derives its legitimacy from the people of that country because democracy is a form of government of the people, for the people and by the people the process of consulting the people of a nation over who should be their leaders is not cheap.
“The whole essence of democracy is that the people of a nation should have the freedom to vote in leaders of their choice and vote them out when they fail to deliver on their promises to a nation,” she said.
She said LAZ is of the opinion that any attempt to extend the constitutional presidential term of office threatens that freedom of choice.
“Mr. Moonga’s proposal is reminiscent of the third term debate that arose in 2000 when suggestions were made that the Constitution should be amended to allow President Frederick Chiluba to stand for a third term in office,” he said.
“At the time, similar sentiments to Mr. Moonga’s were expressed by President Chiluba’s sympathisers in an apparent bid to test the mood and sentiments of the people of Zambia on the issue of the third term. The response from the people of Zambia was a massive anti-third term campaign which forcibly quashed the moves to amend the Constitution to extend President Chiluba’s term in office.”
“We also note the earlier unsuccessful attempt to extend the presidential term in the case of Richard Mumba and Others v The Attorney-General, The Law Association of Zambia and The Electoral Commission of Zambia and Others which judgement was delivered in March 2016.”
Ms. Kasonde said LAZ believes that how and when Zambia’s leaders can be elected into office is a fundamental part of our Constitution and should not be tampered with lightly.
“We therefore urge all elected officials to ensure that during their tenure they work effectively and efficiently to deliver on their promises to the people of Zambia and thereby win their confidence for possible re-election. A political party is not tied to its leader and no elected official is irreplaceable. There is no shortage of leaders in the country who are willing and able to lead the country,” he said.