Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya has said that President Edgar Lungu deserves a second term of office in order to continue and complete the many projects being undertaken by the Patriotic Front government.
Ms Siliya, who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, has clarified that President Lungu has been in office for one term only from 2016 to 2021.
The Minister said that the election won by President Lungu in 2015 after the death of his predecessor, late President Michael Sata, was not a full five-year term according to the laws of Zambia and must not be considered because President Edgar Lungu, was just finishing Mr. Sata’s term of office.
Ms. Siliya said that information circulating purporting that President Lungu has been a President for two terms is not true and must be ignored by all well-meaning Zambians because his first term is finishing this year.
In 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that President Edgar Lungu can stand in presidential elections due in 2021 without breaching a constitutional two-term limit, and rejected an opposition challenge.
President Lungu’s first period in office lasted only one year and six months, when he took over after the death of the previous elected president, Michael Sata. He then won the election to a second, full term in August 2016.
Lungu’s supporters argued that the constitution said that a president is only deemed to have served a term if he is in office for at least three years of the full five-year term.
Constitutional Court President Hildah Chibomba said the ruling by the seven judges of the court had been unanimous.
“Our answer is that (Lungu’s first) presidential tenure of office…cannot be considered as a full term,” Chibomba said.
Opposition leader Hakainde Hichelema, who heads the United Party for National Development (UPND), criticized the ruling as effectively opening the way to a third term for Lungu.
“For now, we would like to clearly state that no one is entitled to a third term of office as president of this country,” Hichelema said. “This is because when courts fail to protect citizens, (they) have the power to map their own destiny through people power.”
The opposition cannot appeal the ruling as the Constitutional Court is the highest tribunal in Zambia.