By Amon Jere.
The Constitutional amendment Bill number 10, popularly known as bill 10, was meant to fix lacunas in our current constitution amendment Act number 9 of 2016. Therefore, Bill 10 presented an opportunity to fix the lacunas in our current Zambian Constitution.
Indeed, the Bill had a lot of progressive clauses and its collapse has robbed the people of Zambia of progressive Constitutional development.
The biggest losers are the Zambian people, more particularly the women, youth and the differently abled. The Zambian youth, women and the differently abled, have been robbed of the opportunity for effective representation in Parliament. We have also lost the opportunity of delimiting our vast constituencies especially rural ones. Smaller constituencies would have made it easier for government to deliver services effectively and bring development closer to the people. It is sad that the opposition turned a very progressive constitutional development agenda into a partisan political issue.
In the 2016 General Elections, the same opposition fought and defeated the Referendum on the Bill of Rights, which was also a very progressive Constitutional development.
The Bill of Rights was going to enhance the rights of all Zambians and would have addressed the Public Order ACT at the same time.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the opposition are not on the side of the Zambian people.
The opposition have fought at every turn, efforts by the PF Government to enhance the rights and improve the living standards of every Zambian, without leaving anyone behind irrespective of their race, tribe, gender or other physical and social disposition.
I therefore call upon all Zambians to wake up and also turn their backs on the opposition. It is strange that some sections of the opposition in Zambia are desperately trying to link the collapse of bill 10 to the eligibility of President Lungu to stand in 2021.
It is a fact that Bill 10 had nothing to do with the eligibility of President Edger Chagwa Lungu.
President Lungu qualifies to run for Presidency in the 2021 Presidential elections, with or without Bill 10. Constitutionally, there is nothing that can bar president Lungu from running for office of Republican President in August 2021.
The Constitutional Court judgement is very clear and leaves no iota of doubt on the eligibility of President Lungu to run for Presidency in the 2021 General Elections, when it stated that the period between 2015 and 2016 when President Lungu served as Republican President following a byelection, after the demise of President Sata, does not constitute a “term of office”.
Therefore, President Lungu is fully entitled to serving two full Five-year terms of office, the first being August 2016 to August 2021 and the second being August 2021 to August 2026. Let it be known that the decision of the Constitutional court is final and cannot be appealed or challenged.
This means that the talk of challenging President Lungu’s eligibility in the Constitutional Court, can best be described as pedestrian talk, lumpenism or a tavern discussion by serial litigants over a gallon of Chibuku.
I make a passionate and rallying call to the Patriotic Front family as follows: I appeal to all PF members in Zambia and in Eastern province in particular, to be united and focused on mobilizing the party on the ground, so that together we can deliver a resounding victory for the President and our Party in August 2021.
I am calling for party unity in Eastern Province. Let us all work as one with a single unity of purpose and that purpose is to get our President re-elected in 2021.
I am calling for an end to intra party fighting and arbitrary suspensions, especially in Eastern Province.