THE Law Association of Zambia has been joined to the proceedings in a case in which four leaders of the opposition are seeking the Constitutional Court’s interpretation on whether President Edgar Lungu is eligible to contest the 2021 presidential elections.
Constitutional Court Judge Margarate Munalula yesterday adjourned the hearing of the petition to February 27, 2017 to allow more interested parties to file formal applications if they were interested to join the proceedings.
LAZ had stated that it was an interested party and, as such, it should be allowed to join to the petition where the president of the Christian Democratic Party Dan Pule, president of the Zambia Republican Party, Wright Musoma, Peter Chanda of the News Congress Party and Citizen Democratic Party leader Robert Mwanza want the Constitutional Court to interpret the law on whether Mr Lungu is eligible to stand for the 2021 presidential elections.
According to the affidavit filed by LAZ lawyer John Sangwa, of Simeza, Sangwa and Associates, LAZ submitted that under Section 4 of the Act, one of the statutory mandates of LAZ was to seek the advancement of the rule of law and the rights and liberties of an individual.
Mr Sangwa said it was for this reason that LAZ was interested to be joined to the proceedings and that the court would benefit from its input during the proceedings.
He stated in his submission that LAZ was seeking to know whether Mr Lungu’s election of January 20, 2015, which expired on August 11, 2016 did not constitute a term of office pursuant to Article 106 (b) of the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Act number 2 of 2016.
Mr Sangwa said the court should also determine if Mr Lungu was eligible to stand as a candidate in the presidential election of 2021 or other future elections.
Heritage Party President Godfrey Miyanda and United Party for National Development (UPND) have so far applied to be joined to the proceedings.
Mr Miyanda has also applied to be joined to the proceedings telling the court that he will be objecting to the matter that Mr Lungu is eligible to contest the 2021 presidential election.
He argued in his affidavit in support of an application for joinder that he had sufficient interest in the petition and was asking to be joined in opposition to the originating summons as an interested party.
Mr Miyanda also submitted that the four opposition leaders had not indicated to the court that President Lungu had delegated them to file their application on his behalf as a prospective nominee in 2021.
UPND secretary general Steven Katuka has asked the court to join him to the proceedings, arguing that Mr Lungu was not eligible to contest the 2021 presidential election.
Mr Katuka has stated that UPND is an interested party and should be joined to the proceedings.
The four Opposition political party leaders petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking a declaration that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to contest the 2021 Presidential election.
The petitioners stated that there had risen a political debate of the tenure of office of President Edgar Lungu and his eligibility to stand as presidential candidate in the 2021 General Election.
They affirmed that President Lungu’s election of January 20th, 2015 as President when he ruled for one year and six months did not constitute a full term of office as per article 106 section 6 sub section B of the amended constitution of Zambia Act number of 2016.
The petitioners said that that President Lungu’s election of August 11th, 2016 for a term of five years was his first full term as President of Zambia.
They also wanted the Court to declare that President Lungu is eligible to stand in the 2021 general election as Presidential candidate, where once elected it will be his second and final term of office.
The petitioners want the court to declare that President LUNGU’s first term of office commenced on September 13th, 2016 when he was sworn in as President for a term of five years.