Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sangwa’s ConCourt Petition Harms the Opposition and Benefits Lungu’s PF!

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By Kapya Kaoma

The negligibility of the petition before the Constitution Court concerning the eligibility of the Patriotic Front candidate, President Edgar Lungu in forthcoming elections are laughable, except for the harm it may cause to the opposition’s cause after August 12, 2021.

The ConCourt is a public institution and every citizen has the right to take any case to it, hence the petitioner is simply executing his constitutional rights. PF Cadre Kennedy Kamba’s childish kaponya threats against the petitioner are nothing but attempts to worship the big man. We are a democracy and we have the right to seek legal recourse in cases of interest, especially one which centers on the person who would become the most powerful individual in the nation. But is this case worth it?

The petition pertains to whether Mr. Edgar Lungu qualifies to contest the forthcoming election. The case borders on articles that speak to holding the office of, or being sworn in twice as President of Zambia, which is unclear if read in conjunction with other articles of the same Constitution. Mr. Lungu’s one year term in office was due to President Michael Sata’s death, thus he did not serve the minimum of three years required to constitute a full term under the same Constitution. So the PF’s argument is simple: Lungu has one more term to serve hence qualifies to contest the 2021 election. If he does so, however, he would be contesting the third time and should he win, he would serve three terms. This is the petitioner’s objection. Mr. Lungu has contested in, and won two elections–thus he cannot be eligible to contest the forthcoming election. It is this issue the ConCourt must rule on.

I don’t have confidence in the ConCourt as currently constituted; it has too much power and unaccountable. I believe that it cannot be above the Supreme Court of Zambia and that it must be under independent oversight. Despite my misgivings, it would take a tanker of Kachasu for the petitioner to force the ConCourt to block Lungu from contesting the election. The “poorly worded” and “copy and paste” Constitution is simply unclear even to the petitioner himself. We had an opportunity to amend it but we failed because of political interests. The countless flaws in the Constitution are set to bite us again and again. We wasted many years arguing about petty issues rather than straightening it. I understand the many flaws that characterized the PF driven Constitution, but we ended up with the very document that is self-contradictory and unclear. If we honored the senseless Grade 12 Certificate requirement, shouldn’t we do the same on other issues?

With merely two months to go before the election, I don’t understand the strategic goal of this petition. If the petitioner thinks he is doing damage to PF, the opposite is true. My worry is that the Constitution Court may be needed in case of legitimate petitions after the elections. Since the world would have been used to the ConCourt ruling against “opposition” challenges, Aesop’s Fable of “the boy who cried wolf” would become a bitter pill to swallow after August 12.

Besides, messaging is key in competitive politics. Many opposition cadres are celebrating the petitioner; the truth is these petty petitions are sending a poor message of desperation. It is simply “trumpian” and insane to repeat the same failed strategy over and over. The petitioner’s credibility on blocking Lungu from contesting in this election has suffered setbacks before, so another dismissal will only provide further political capital to PF. Yes, the petitioner is not running against Lungu, but these actions are perceived as the opposition’s untold fear of Lungu in the forthcoming election. Let’s face it–the battle is already set and the opposition can easily stop Lungu through the ballot, and not through a group of unelected people in ugly colonial wigs! Leave the ConCourt for when you need it! “14 days” is still unresolved.

41 COMMENTS

  1. This is not about politics (opposition versus government parties) but about LEGALITY and JUSTICE. If Lungu gets elected, there will always be the question of whether he deserves to be president as per the constitution – until the Sangwa case gets properly heard.

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  2. If Edgar Lungu is a weak soldier, the faceoff and showdown should be at the ballot. Someone has been losing for 5 times and the sixth attempt will be disastrous. Did the 2016 election petition help the opposition? No.
    They missed the ballot chance and they currently have the eligibility petition which is more of a debt than a credit. Some people never learn. Lungu will again get past this petition soon.

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  3. This is not a political issue bane thats why even the opposition themselves are quiet over this – but a question of law and order. We create a constitution that limits the number of times one is elected to two and we keep quiet when someone uses state machinery to go a mile further. Its not in order. Even ECZ removed the clause that states:”I have not been elected twice as the president of Zambia.” Why?? Is this not enough evidence that there is something seriously wrong here? All those who support illegality will one day pay for this. The PF candidate will one day answer as an individual and none of you dubious beneficiaries will be there to help him. It happened to Chiluba, he was all by himself when time came to answer charges against him. Lets be serious and follow the law. Sangwa…

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  4. Lets go and vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finish……………These elections for 2021 marks the end of both ECL and HH on the same ballot!!!!!!!! Who will lose, who will win; let us vote not getting it on silver plater based on legalities through disqualification. HH be strong coz this may be the end of you if you lose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!………………………..Six times losing may not be good for UPND.

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  5. UPND and their surrogates are scared stiff of ECL and the PF. They have not campaigned and they think the eligibility case is what will win them votes.

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  6. “With merely two months to go before the election, I don’t understand the strategic goal of this petition.” LT

    We are rejecting top-down leadership.

    “Top-down management occurs when goals, projects, and tasks are determined among your company’s senior leaders – usually independently of their teams. These goals, projects, and tasks are then communicated to the rest of the organization.”

    PF third term is taxation without representation.

    We don’t need PF Current administration to be able to think for us. Think about that?

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  7. The ghost of bill 10 will fall on the opposition like a tonne of bricks. 14 days of petittion still intact includin weekends.

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  8. If lungu gets the nod from concort for a third trem , what stops him resigning after 2 years and reconnecting again in 2026 since he did not again complete 3 years ?..?

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  9. It’s about the law being followed & not how popular or unpopular a particular candidate is. When are we going to understand that good governance equates to quick devt ? Illegality by anyone should not be entertained, so let the courts interpret for us what holding office & serving in office mean. Rule of law must prevail at all times.

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  10. Where you’ve misled yourselves is that you’re trying to interpret the 1996 Constitution using provisions of the 2016 Constitution. Edgar Chagwa Lungu wasn’t a Vice President, we went to elections to elect him because that’s what that Constitution provided. He won by 47% votes cast because that’s what that Law said. He served a term because that’s what that Law provided. Now, if you want to apply provisions of the current Constitution to what transpired in 2015, then ECL2021 was in office illegally and you know the consequences for that. It’s for his own good that John Sangwa has petitioned otherwise if he doesn’t back out there’ll be consequences to him and to those that’ll facilitate his illegal 3rd term

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  11. Zambians should ask themselves whether the constitutional court has the powers to cure the ills in our current constitution. If the constitution is ambiguous then you can expect an ambiguous interpretation of it. The constitutional court can only best refer the deficiencies of the current constitution to the legislators. Is it within the jurisdiction of the constitutional court to recommend to the legislators what needs to be done to cure the ills of the current constitution? I seriously doubt that the provisions of the constitution that created the constitutional court give the same powers to it the way the South African constitution does to the South African constitutional court.

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  12. Terribly written article. PF candidate has broken the Constitution and the court is being asked to remedy the anomaly but will harm opposition?! Is this implying in Zambia rule of law is not important? I dot see what point he is making.

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  13. Talk to me August 17th or 18th when Bandit President Edgar Chagwa will be sworn in for the third time…Sangwa is campaigning for Bandit Lungu and making opposition lose focus…better read between the lines….politicians are very crafty..Chiluba called it dribbling…Sata called it “Donchi Kubeba”…..all along UPND thought Charmane Musonda was UPND….now they’re realizing she was just planted in UPND….together with Mwaliteta…they don’t have morals…whoever offers them money can use them

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  14. The writer is weird, this is not about politics but law breakers and infact it is harming PF and Edgar Lungu.

    Edgar Lungu must be arrested for going against the law

    PF must go!

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  15. The issue of blocking ECL through the ConCourt is not workable the only way is through the ballot. Its a waste of time and resources and its like the opposition is scared of ECL. The truth is which appointee on earth will go against the appointing authority even if it were me it will never happen or will not allow it. One can not bite the fingers that are feeding you.

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  16. Nothing wrong in trying.let the courts guide
    Us.Fear of future outcome should not stop
    Under current circumstances.This will be a
    Test for our judges also.

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  17. There is nothing wrong with criticizing duplication of court cases. Courts are also public institutions. Break the record of appearing before ConCourt may appear impressive but it would undermine public trust and confidence in the justice system. The eligibility issue was resolved and discussing t over and over again is a fixation. It is equivalent to political activism. This is the reason why politicians are now responding politically. It is quite unfair to consider elected party leaders as simple people. The people of all shades mean well. Taking the matter to court repeatedly is a form of plagiarism. There is no need for political cadres to keep quiet when law cadres are making noise. Political action belongs to brave people. Take time to appreciate constitutionalism. Take time to…

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  18. It is interesting to read an article like this. The rule of law must prevail at all times. Failure to that would create anarchy and that whoever is in power can have a field day. Let’s give the concourt time and space to determine the matter. It is a principle and not a preference that matters. And once the concourt rules, we all must accept and go to the polls in the spirit of one Zambia one nation one people.

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  19. WRITER WHO EVER YOU ARE DONOT FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE TALKING
    ABOUT , JUST WAIT AND SEE FILIUKOTULEYA AND WHO IS LUNGU WHO JUST DEPEND ON
    OUR VOTES THAT WE ARE NOW TAKING AWAY.

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  20. The law is the law. You cant circumvent the law just for the sake of an election.
    Article 52 was put there for a reason.
    The role of the Concourt is to interpret and apply the constitution as it is.
    The concourt has no power to legislate.

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  21. Lungu’s first term was under the old constitution and that one did not have the less than three years provision. How difficult is it for these tuma PF apologists to understand something so straight forward?

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  22. Bainsider!! How do the opposition when they are told not to hold rallies. Meanwhile, them are going for campaigns under the guise of developmental fimo fimo.

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  23. Zambians, vote wisely on 12 August 2021. Do think very carefully about how things can change with the same team that has brought misery. Do think carefully about a man who himself never made money outside politics but even grabbed a little money from a widow! The PF manifesto promised much that has not been achieved. The one sign of insanity is having the same cartel of people inflicting harm and returning them to power hoping that they will be different. Try someone else. If in 2016, they fail, we change again, but at least the damage will be only for 5 years and not 20!

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  24. The problem in Zambia is that every Jim and Jack who overates themselves as enlightened or professionals some tend to expose their limited expertise or knowledge by stepping into areas that they are at par with the person on the streets in ignorance! A constitutional matter arises and the subject is turned into political circus! Either there is a constitution or there is none!

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  25. The quest for defence for the rule of law is not popularity contest. Any well meaning patriotic Zambian must support Sangwa’s efforts. Most Zambians not only are they cowards but suffer from interlectual laxity. Without respect for the consideration, our democracy is lame and fake.

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  26. John Sangwa is not a politician. He is a lawyer. He should not care a hoot about how the case will harm the opposition but he is very right to ensure the country adheres to its laws. @ Ayatolah above argues very well about serving terms and our interpretation of constitutions from different perspectives. Only Kamba and his likes will see Sangwa’s case as being political.

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  27. This is not about Sangwa vs Lungu but about the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land and we cant apply cadre interpretations of the law because this is not street law. Its imperative that Edgar Lungu’s sympathizers understand that the Courts do not look at individuals (hence the saying Justice is blind).

    This is true and one will look at it as though it is for two races when it is something that affects all of us. Let us not do game jogging but we have to look at it with a spectacle for tomorrow’s generation and have it that history was and present is what about the future?
    No winner and no looser game but Nation of Zambia simply means citizens and its Constitution period.

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  28. PRINCIPLE DOES NOT JUST CONSTITUTE IN THE NUMBER OF TIMES ONE STANDS AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. IT ALSO INCLUDES THE ADEQUACY OF THE TIME IN WHICH SOMEONE CAN DELIVER MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENT. YOU CANNOT SAY EVEN IF SOMEONE SERVES TWO DAYS IN OFFICE, IT IS ENOUGH AS LONG AS IT IS A TERM? WHAT PRINCIPLE IS THAT? A TERM IS FIVE YEARS AND THAT IS ENOUGH FOR SOMEONE TO DELIVER ANY DEVELOPMENT. FIVE YEARS WAS NOT PUT THERE FOR NOTHING. ECL SHOULD NOT BE DENIED THE CHANCE TO SERVE A FULL TERM. IT IS HIS RIGHT. IN THE UNFORTUNATE EVENT THAT ONE SERVES THE REMAINING PERIOD OF SOMEONE ELSE YOUR CONSTITUTION SAYS AS LONG AS IT IS LESS THAN THREE YEARS, IT IS NOT A TERM. NOW WHO IS TO BLAME HERE? LUNGU, THE OPPOSITION, THE CONCOURT OR WHO? OR WHOSE PRINCIPLE ARE YOU FOLLOWING? IF YOU HATE LUNGU PLEASE…

  29. This is dununa reverse indeed!
    Who told you that you needed a few weeks before elections to challenge the Concourt’s already settled matter?
    Who does that?
    Stop wasting your time on something you know ain’t going anywhere.
    I honestly don’t like chap who don’t get it.
    Whether yes or no, like it or not ECL’s smiling face will be etched on that political ballot.
    Y’all,niggaz gotta get over it and move on.
    Instead of bickering and hoping for hoax miracle, get ya’ bu.ttz up and get to work campaigning, yangu mafellaz.
    Nanga ni silver platter? Mmmmmh aishas!

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  30. Since there is this ambiguity in the constitution, the simple rule to follow is the number line. The mark is 10 years for two terms and if Lungu is denied chance
    to serve the next term he will have served 7 years and if he is allowed he will have served 12. Since 12 is closer to 10 he should be allowed to context the next elections in the spirit of natural justice kwasila.

  31. Since there is this ambiguity in the constitution, the simple rule to follow is the number line. The mark is 10 years for two terms and if Lungu is denied chance
    to serve the next term he will have served 7 years and if he is allowed he will have served 12. Since 12 is closer to 10 he should be allowed to contest the next elections in the spirit of natural justice kwasil.

  32. OF COURSE THAT’S WHY WE PLANTED HIM THERE TO QUESTION THE ELIGIBILITY OF THE PRESIDENT- IS FINISH THE UNSUSPECTING OPPOSITION.

  33. Not even John Sangwa himself is hoping for a different result. I think he just wants the judges of the Constitutional Court to once again show their true colours. The court record will show wht had been tried in all honesty but was frustrated.

  34. Opposition against ECL since it is strongest in diaspora will never produce the desired results, because it is tainted by the environment where these opponents live. Besides, these people don’t vote.
    I don’t know why HH keeps on relying on these useless noise makers.
    The only road to Plot 1 is through people’s votes. FTJ was crowned by mass movement and removed by mass movement led by civil society..

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