[ZAMBIA] Zambia : Constitutional Court Eligibility Judgment: I Have Been Vindicated! 

Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba
Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba

By Peter Sinkamba

When the debate on commenced last year, I held a view that President Lungu was eligible to contest the next elections.

As was reported in the Lusaka Times issue of 15th January, 2017, my key arguments were anchored on the following point:

(1) Although Article 106(3) prevents a person who has twice held the office of President from standing again for that office, there is an exemption under Article 106(6)(b) that would make President Lungu eligible to run again

(2) Article 106(6)(b) states that a person who was elected to the office of President shall only be deemed to have served a “term” if he served for three or more year

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(3) President Lungu only served for 18 months and did not therefore complete a “term”Under Article 106(1) of the constitution, as a term of office lasts 5 years.

This is almost exactly what the has stated too in its . So I feel somewhat .

To argue that “holding office” is defined as “being sworn-in and serving until the next person is sworn-in as President”, is obviously misleading. Such an argument is flawed in the sense that if one resigns or dies during the first term of office, then that person cannot be said to have “held office” of the President, for he would not have held office until the next person is sworn-in. For example, it would be grossly erroneous, under lexical semantics, to argue that the Late President Michael Sata NEVER “held Office” of President simply because he did not serve until the next person (Mr. Lungu) was sworn-in as President. It could also be grossly erroneous to argue that the Late President Levy Mwanawasa NEVER “held Office” of President simply because he died before the next person (Mr. Rupiah Banda) was sworn-in as President.

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If “holding office” is defined as “being sworn-in and serving until the next person is sworn-in as President”, then it means President Lungu is yet to hold office because no next person has yet been sworn-in as President after he himself was sworn-in as President in 2015 and 2016. He remains the same person sworn-in in 2015 and 2016 until 2021.

I think that the Constitutional Court decision is sound because it is premised on “serving term of office” rather than “the swearing-in of next person” or indeed “number of times that someone has acted in office of the president regardless the number of days”.

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The latter, which is premised on the number of time that someone has acted in the office of the president, is so flawed that people like Vice President Inonge Wina and Defence Minister Davies Chama who have acted in the office of the president for two or more times would automatically be ineligible to contest presidency, even if the period in which they acted is cumulatively for less than 10 days!!!!!!

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It places persons like Hon Mwanakatwe on the line of ineligibility if given one more chance to act a president.

Such a law would definitely be fundamentally wrong.

President Lungu is eligible to contest in 2021, A response to Elias Chipimo Jnr

President Lungu is eligible to contest in 2021, A response to Elias Chipimo Jnr

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Originally Authored By: Chief Editor

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