PF chairperson for legal affairs Hon Brian Mundubile says removing article 52(4) is not meant to advance President Edgar Lungu’s interest but to avoid electoral confusion or conflicts in regards to nomination petitions.
He said Article 52(4) which states that a person may challenge, before a court or tribunal, as prescribed, the nomination of a candidate within seven days of the close of nomination and the court shall hear the case within twenty-one days of its lodgement is retrogressive and can disadvantage any candidate across the spectrum whether ruling or opposition and is likely to be abused by those who feel disadvantaged for not being adopted.
Speaking to Smart Eagles in an interview, Hon Mundubile notes that maintaining article 52 cannot even affect President Lungu because the matter concerning his eligibility has already been settled in the courts of law saying those that still want to petition can go ahead now if they still seek clarity on the matter.
“You can’t tailor a constitution around an individual. We know that beyond 2026 President Lungu will not be eligible but you want to return article 52(4) for purposes of petitioning President Lungu’s nomination in 2021 when the article will be in the constitution for a long time to come and will disadvantage others councilors, MP’s and future presidents. So we are saying no because that’s not how you frame a constitution” Hon Mundubile further explained.
Hon Mundubile said maintaining article 52 will breed mischief because anyone can wake up and petition any candidate of frivolous grounds.
“Why should we have a law that generates confusion, you have a situation where aspirants are competing and one has been picked and adopted and all the other one has to do is to spoil for them through a petition on frivolous grounds such that he loses 21 days because the matter has to be determined with 21 days coupled with the earlier 7 days given within which to petition” he explained.
He says constitutional amendments are not meant to create conflicts but to provide a level playing field and to settle cases as opposed to raising new ones.
And Hon Mundubile has challenged those opposing Bill 10 to substantiate their arguments through issue-based debates as opposed to shunning debate platforms such as parliament by walking out adding that a constitution is a national document that requires everyone’s participation regardless of political affiliations and interests.