Calls for President Lungu to Hold Office for the Third Time will Disunite PF and the Nation

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President Lungu arrives for the Inauguration Ceremony

By Isaac Mwanza

President Lungu has not said anything about the current innuendos and calls by some of his members to stand for the third time in 2021 as President of the Republic of Zambia but as reputable a lawyer as he is and a man of humble background who wants to leave a legacy, his guidance to the PF and the nation can stop this uncalled for debate about him standing in 2021.

Article 106 clause 3 of the Constitution of Zambia, 1991 as amended in 2016 reads as follows:

“106 (3) A person who has twice held office as President is not eligible for election as President.”

WHAT DOES PRESIDENT LUNGU BELIEVE IN?

Speaking when members of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council paid a courtesy call on him at State House this week, President Lungu said constitutionalism is a prerequisite for peace and security on the African continent.

The President observed that some African countries were under strife because of lack of respect for constitutionalism.

President Lungu says constitutions should not be changed at will to serve selfish interests at the expense of the majority citizens.

“Our people want peace. We can give them peace through the respect for our constitutions. Lack of respect for constitutions is a recipe for anarchy,” The President said.

“Let the people’s constitutions be stable. All of us are passengers and we will not be there forever. Leaders must therefore allow the law to take its course for the sake of peace on the continent. It is about the rule of law, democracy and good governance. There is also need for governments to treat former leaders with respect and dignity after they leave office,” the President said.

CAN THE PF LEARN FROM THE PAST?

If there are any lessons the PF can learn from the MMD, those lessons are that the party got divided by the Third Term campaign which was championed by late Michael Sata.

The breakaway group, now Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), was an offshot of the failure by late Dr. FTJ Chiluba to stop those campaigns. Michael Sata himself had to form his own party when Dr. Chiluba, the self – confessed political engineer, dribbled the man who had tirelessly campaigned for his third term bid.

All during the calls for Chiluba’s third term bid, Dr. Chiluba pretended he knew nothing about those calls and said his duty was to just work and work. Everyone, though, knew who was behind those campaigns.

There were, of course, some very friendly private and public media that would would use subtle ways to champion those calls. The people who closely surrounded, diligently and professionally worked for Dr. FTJ Chiluba, like Richard Sakala and Eric Silwamba may be very helpful in advising the public and the PF about the dangers of these third term campaigns.

Richard Sakala and Eric Silwamba are very experienced in managing the Presidency and their advice to those who manage President Lungu may prove very helpful.

PF IN-FIGHTING IS ABOUT PRESIDENT LUNGU’S SUCCESSOR

The wrangles going on in the PF today – truth be told – are centred around the PF candidate for 2021. To me, everybody in the PF realises or ought to realise that under the current 1991 Constitution of Zambia, as amended in 2016, President Lungu will not be eligible to stand in 2021. This realisation has now divided the PF into 3 different camps as it did to the MMD.

One group, while knowing this truth, is acting with deception with a view to getting kudos from President Lungu by beginning calls for him to stand in 2021. But the way I know President Lungu, he will not give kudos to such blind loyalists who can’t even read nor understand the clear provisions of the law.

The second group, acting with deception too, has seen an opportunity to try and identify a candidate ahead of 2021.

The wrangles going on in the PF today – truth be told – are centred around the PF candidate for 2021.

They subtly discuss the expired mandate of the MCCs but their actual goal is the Presidency for they understand that even President Lungu whose 5 year mandates ends in November 2019 has to be renewed. Can the PF afford to hold a convention this year to elect MCCs, and again in 2019, to elect the person who shall be the Presidential candidate for the PF in 2021, as per PF Constitution.

The third group comprises those who also are aware of provisions of Article 106 (3) but would not want to show their true colours least their benefits are curtailed by the first group of blind loyalists.

These are somehow opportunists who wait to see where the national wind blows till the last minute. We had a number of such during Chiluba’s Third Term bid.

The likes of Nawakwi and Tembo who only had to speak out or act at last minute. One member of this group was quoted in the last campaigns as having told the Bemba following that “they have just given Edgar Lungu the Presidency but ikawela again”. This was a serious statement whose results are beginning to show.

WHAT WOULD MAKE PRESIDENT LUNGU ELIGIBLE TO CONTEST IN 2021?

President Lungu would have been eligible to contest the 2021 elections, in accordance with Article 106 (6)(b), as read together with Article 106 (5)(a) and (b), if at a time of his first election in January 2015, he was either the Vice President or the persons elected because the Vice President was unable to act as President when Micheal Sata had died and the Speaker had taken over to supervise the elections where he was elected.

There are three options that would make President Lungu to contest the 2021 elections.

The first option is when Parliament amends the current Constitution to ensure that Article 106 (6)(b) also becomes applicable to President Lungu. We all must remember that President Lungu found that provisions already in the draft Constitution and, at the time it’s was passed as it is, it’s cure was not about his election or serving 1 year 7 months. It had to do with the Vice President who takes over the running of government or, due to failure by Vice President, another person is elected.

President Lungu must end the infighting within the PF by declaring that the next PF Convention to elect both the 2021 PF Presidency who automatically becomes the presidential candidate and the MCCs will be held around 2019 and 2021.

The second option is where Parliament repeals the entire Constitution and Zambia enacts a new Constitution (not just amendments). This is what Mugabe did but we know that with Mugabe, it’s survival of the fittest. He cannot afford to lose power because his “enemies” will see him at The Hague, lol.

President Lungu has no such fears. Also, repealing the Constitution means we must also hold another referendum on the Bill of Rights. That is the only process that completes the process of coming up with a new Constitution where everything starts afresh, including is term.

The Third Option is when the matter is taken to the Constitutional Court and the Judges, on the path of pleasing the PF, rule that Article 106 (6)(b) is very much applicable to President Lungu (when it is not) thereby clearing his path to contest in 2021. Looking at the men and women on that Constitutional Court bench, everything is possible. The Judiciary is so highly intimidated, at this point, that they would sacrifice justice at the altar of political expediency. We are yet to see.

CONCLUSION

I know I would have loved to win kudos from those PF “loyalists”, amidst “blind”, if I sang the song to justify why President Lungu qualifies for 2021 but my conscience would still have been troubled.

Because I once interacted with him for a short time, I know President Lungu, because isn’t one who likes false hero – worshipping for the sake of being in good books with him.

Those wanting to rely on Article 106 clause (6) (b) which talks about serving less than 3 years to make it apply to H.E. ECL ought to remember that Article 106(6)(a)(b) cannot be read without reference to Article 106 (5)(a)(b). It is not a completely stand-alone article. An argument based on this article is legally lame as the same cannot apply to President Lungu for 2 reasons:

1. He was not the Vice President at a time he was first elected as President to serve for 1 year and 7 months. The requirement of clause article 106 (5)(a).

2. He was not elected because the Vice President was unable to act and so the Speaker had to act. The requirement of Article 106 (5)(b)

On these two reasons, the reliance on that article is premature and has no basis in law.

President Lungu has held the office of the President twice and he cannot go again in 2021.

The only sure way for President Lungu to stand in 2021 is by amending the entire Article 106 by removing or rewording clauses 3 and 6 to suit the need.

President Lungu must end the infighting within the PF by declaring that the next PF Convention to elect both the 2021 PF Presidency who automatically becomes the presidential candidate and the MCCs will be held around 2019 and 2021. President Lungu can do well to begin grooming a leader who can take over from him then.

He must keep his eyes wide open way Sata kept his eyes wide open. If it was up to me, Harry Kalaba or Makebi Zulu are fine young politicians whose debates even in Parliament are more sober.

One may add young Christopher Pikiti-Kang’ombe to this list. I believe President Lungu won’t allow this infighting to continue when the root of these fights is well known. He must confront the truth.

The Author is the Democracy and Governance Specialist at the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Zambia. This position does not necessarily represent the position of any body, Association or group he may belong to but represents his positions as backed by various provisions of the Constitution as quoted.

34 COMMENTS

  1. +4
    -2
    vote

    These cries are coming from PF by using the youths.

    To even contemplate this, is pretty much ludicrous and ridiculous .

    They are flirting with a serious civil unrest.

    Personally I don’t think it happens and I prefer to think that people reacting to these news are merely victims of political rumor mongering.

    This is going no where- because I said so

    Thanks

    BB2014

  2. +5
    -2
    vote

    “….but as reputable a lawyer as he is……… ”

    Lungu is a disreputable thieving lawyer who should have served a prison term and barred from practicing for life.

    • +1
      0
      vote

      He is also trying to set a protective tone for himself against prosecution that Chiluba suffered when he is no longer in office by saying, quote…”There is also need for governments to treat former leaders with respect and dignity after they leave office,” the President said.”

  3. +6
    -5
    vote

    This same Mwanza(alas Mwaanza) must have mentioned that a president is consired to having done a term after being in office for 3 years or more.in 2015 ECL only served for less than 2 years,so nobody can call that a term.i just wonder why some Zambians have a habit of misleading others.if ECL had ruled for 3 years or more after Mr Sata’s death,nobody in PF can even initiate the idea of him standing again 2021.they are saying this because they 100% know that ECL qualifys to stand in 2021!!!PLEASE MWAANZA STOP MISLEADING PEOPLE!!!just prepare your kalusa hh to face unstopable ECL in 2021!!!

    • +5
      -1
      vote

      That is in the amended constitution not the one Lungu was elected by in 2015. As far as the previous constitution is concerned the 2015 election counted as one term. Lungu is now in his second and final term.

  4. vote

    While Rwandans are now producing laptops and Ungandans are producing a bus the president and his ministers just love being tourists instead bringing development to Zed which brings in forex. Now Zambians will be weeping up to buy Rwandan assembled laptops while Lungu and his cadres will waste Zed forex for 3 term campaign and debate

  5. +1
    0
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    Let them fight they are reaping what they have been sowing. Stealing has consequences they stole our votes, therefore fighting will be their daily food because God has heard our cries.

  6. vote

    Again we are back to confusion concerning interpretation of our constitution?? Was this constitution ORIGINALLY wrote in Arabic or hindu?

  7. vote

    Please let someone take over, as much as i like and respect you, your excellence , We dont want you to have a bad reputation(as most African presidents do) for not handing over power to others. Nelson Mandela became an International Icon and most respected African man world wide because he voluntarily handed over POWER .Please dont allow the GAMBIAN POLITICAL CRISIS TO BE OUR OWN. There are many others who can take over…

  8. +4
    -3
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    This article is very misleading and inaccurate. We all know Mr Lungu is just serving his first 5-year-term of office and he is still eligible for another but last tern in 2021. The term that he served earlier belonged to the late Mr Sata (MHSRIP), which ended last year 2016. God bless Zambia.

    • +2
      -1
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      James, did you complete Grade 1 ”Can you remember comprehension” exercises? He was elected president. He was not completing anybody’s term. The question the returning officer asks on nomination day is ” Have you twice been elected as president of the republic of Zambia?” If the answer to this question is YES, then you do not qualify under the new constitution. So if PF makes that mistake they may end up with no candidate. The time given for nomination is too short to find a new candidate.

  9. +6
    0
    vote

    We just had elections barely 4 months ago and people are already talking about who takes over in 2021.Then when are you people going to work for the development of this nation.It’s high time we stopped politicking and concentrate developing this nation.

    • +1
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      vote

      For sure. Too many cadres in Zambia who spend their time just thinking about praise songs for their bosses. Think about other issues please

  10. +2
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    ECL is serving his final term. Both constitutions the repealed and the amended one speak of no one serving for more than two terms. Did ECL contest and win the 2015 Presidential election?, yes he did defeating Nawakwi/HH/Mumba in that order. (First term). Did ECL contest and win 2016 PE? Yes (Term 2). What of the requirement of a time frame not considered a term unless the Veep holds office for more than 3 years? This clause became operational on introduction of a running mate. ECL was never a RM. So 2021 Zambia forward under new Upnd Leadership.

  11. vote

    THE TRUTH IS RB WILL NOT GIVE UP CONTROL OF PF. AS IT IS WITH LUNGU AT THE HELM RB IS CALLING THE SHOTS.

  12. vote

    Succession fight, no better way to destroy a political party……pop corns please, mega size with butter!!

  13. vote

    Unfortunately, we forget very fast that we have walked this walk before. HE EL can never be as cunning as Hefty Jay. He is headed for doom. This is not Rwanda or Burundi. He that digs a pit will fall in it.

  14. +4
    -1
    vote

    I would rather have lungu than a bemba theif.
    If the alternative is a bemba let’s have lungu all the way while he decimates the thieves in PF.

    Viva lungu 2021.

  15. vote

    In view of our economic woes, missing an election won’t harm us. Less expenditure, Less volatile

  16. +2
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    We all ignored the debate to allow Lungu rule for 5 years, we said he is finishing Sata’s term. So if that is the case then, this is his first term. He deserves his second term.

  17. +1
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    According to the constitution article106, clause 6 (a) and (b) Lungu is eligible to stand in 2021.
    It would be useful for contributors, especially originators, to fully understand the issues they are putting forward. It is a total waste of time to propose personal whims that show lack of intellect like in this case.
    This is a long article that lacks in content and only demonstrates that the author does not read and does not understand the constitution.

  18. vote

    Isaac Mwanza are you the president or his advisor? That is your opinion, His Excellent Chagwa Lungu has his opinion and priorities. He has the people’s mandate to think and act independently and does not have to do what you or anybody else thinks,

Comments are closed.