Lungu’s self-induced distraction is over – Mulenga

By Staff Reporter

THE majority Zambians are happy that President Edgar Lungu’s self-induced distraction is over, says Zambia Civic Education Association executive director Judith Mulenga.

And Mulenga said the ruling of the Constitutional Court on the eligibility of President Lungu to stand in 2021 does not mean that the court conferred him the Republican presidency.

On Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled that President Edgar Lungu did not serve a full term from January 2015 to August 2016 and that he could, for a third time, contest the presidency in 2021.

Commenting on the ConCourt ruling, Mulenga in a statement wondered why President Lungu had occupied himself with the third term bid.

“Some of us saw no need to preoccupy yourself (President Lungu) with 2021 soon after being declared winner of 2016. Hardly had you started the term than you started focusing on the next term! In whose interest was that?” she wondered.

And Mulenga stated that the final say on who would rule Zambia beyond 2021 lied with “us the people.”

She stated that with “all the hullabaloo” before and after the ConCourt judgment, there was a real danger of people taking a psychological defeatist attitude “believing that it is now a foregone conclusion on who goes to State House in 2021.”

“The ruling of the Constitutional Court on the eligibility of President Lungu to stand in 2021 does not mean that the court conferred him the presidency. For that, the jury is still out and the jury is us the Zambian people! It is not even about the politicians; it is about us Zambians fighting for and reclaiming our democracy. All that we now want is a proper level playing field for our multiparty democracy to thrive and not a salaula watered down version of it!” Mulenga stated in a press statement.

“For that we need our civil and political rights to be respected. The government and its institutions should not interfere in the exercise of the freedoms constitutionally guaranteed. International human rights law places an imperative obligation on the government to respect, promote and protect the individual or collective exercise of these freedoms without discrimination on any basis and Zambia is not exempted!”

Mulenga stated that freedom of movement, just like that of expression, ought to be for all.

“If hundreds of PF supporters could gather at the Constitutional Court premises [on Friday], why should we see screaming headlines of ‘stay away from this and that police station?’ Freedom of expression should be for all!” she stated.

“If it is alright for PF to celebrate the ConCourt ruling, it should be equally alright for people opposed to express their views as well. Therefore, it is misplaced for the PF secretary general to verbally delight in the ruling while telling those opposed to keep quiet. If you want people to keep quiet on an issue, you keep quiet first; that is only fair!”

Mulenga further cautioned opposition political parties, in relation to the ConCourt verdict.

“To the opposition, this is it! It is what it is! As the adage goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ The rest of the Zambians who are non-supporters of PF, which is a constitutional human right not to support them even if for no reason at all, are looking for you all, for new innovative ingenious ways of playing the political game,” Mulenga stated.

Mulenga also stated that Zambians should not continue demanding “so little” of people that aspired to rule.

“We should put a high premium on leadership. Only then would Zambia be genuinely humane, democratic just society,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Mulenga stated that the Zambian people have the most important and most powerful sovereign authority.

“The Constitution gives us the people the ultimate authority over the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Article 5 of the Constitution categorically vests this authority in us the people….” stated Mulenga.