Lungu can contest 2021 elections – ConCourt
By Staff Reporter
The Constitutional Court this morning declared that President Edgar Lungu has not served two full terms and consequently can contest the 2021 Presidential elections.
The court made the declaration this morning when they delivered judgment in a case in which Dan Pule of the Christian Democratic Party, Wright Musoma of Zambian Republican Party leader, Robert Mwanza of the Citizens Democratic Party and Peter Chanda the New Congress Party leader asked the court to interpret whether President Lungu was eligible to contest the 2021 Presidential elections and if the term which he inherited after the demise of president Michael Sata and the current term he was serving constituted two full terms.
The Attorney General and PF were respondents while the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and UPND joined as first and second interested parties respectively.
Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, the Heritage Party leader withdraw from the proceedings before hearing of the matter.
Delivering judgement, justice Hildah Chibomba sitting with justices Annie Sitali, Mungeni Mulenga, Enock Mulembe, Palan Mulonda, Professor Margaret Munalula and Martin Musaluke, said President Lungu’s term of office which he inherited from president Sata did not constitute a full term as he only served for one year six months.
Justice Chibomba explained that President Lungu’s first term in office straddled two Constitution regimes, adding that his first term of holding Office stretched from January 2015 to September 13, 2016.
She said that did not constitute two full terms of Office as a full term would be if he had served the substantial part of at least three years and above.
Justice Chibomba said Article 106 (3) and Article 101 should be read holistically.
After interpreting the two provisions which the court said should not be read in isolation, justice Chibomba pronounced that President Lungu did not serve a full term when he inherited president Sata’s term.
She added that depending on the circumstances like President Lungu, he can serve 13 years in that he could serve a term of at least not more than three years which was left by another President and did not amount to a full term and then serve his two terms of five years each.
Justice Chibomba said after answering that President Lungu did not serve a full term, it become otiose and would not consider it.
Meanwhile, there was jubilation at the court premises following the judgment as President Lungu’s supported sang songs of praise.
During hearing of the case in May, Pule and others through their lawyers Bonaventure Mutale, Milingo Lungu, Dickson Jere and others, had argued that President Lungu was eligible to stand while
State Counsel John Sangwa on the other hand argued that President Lungu could not refuse to be bound by the Constitution and he was not eligible.
Speaking to journalists after the judgment, PF secretary general Davies Mwila aaid it was good that the issue of President Lungu’s eligibility had been settled .
He said the judgement was a victory for the PF and President Lungu.
UPND lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri said they would not issue a statement until they read the judgement but added that that was not what they expected.