CHISHIMBA Kambwili says constitutional lawyer John Sangwa is on spot to say President Edgar Lungu does not qualify to stand in 2021.
In an interview, Kambwili echoed Sangwa’s statement that the court misdirected itself when it
started talking about the length of the presidential term.
“I totally agree with State Counsel, Sangwa that the [Constitutional] Court did not pronounce itself that President Edgar Lungu qualifies to stand for elections in 2021,” Kambwili said. “Actually, the court misdirected itself when it started talking about the length of the presidential term. Nobody took anybody to court to complain about the period of the presidential term. What people went to court for, was the fact that can a President who has been elected twice and sworn in twice, run for office?”
He said according to the Constitution, the answer is no.
Kambwili further said that the clause on the term of office is tied to the Vice-President who has taken over as President when the incumbent is incapable of continue in either death or sickness.
“If the Vice-President is elected, like now under the system of running mate, it simply means that when the President dies, that Vice-President take over. Now when that Vice-President wants to come and run for the office if the period is less than three years, if he wants to come and run, if it was less than three years, he qualifies to run because it is not a term,” he explained. “But if he took office for over three years, three at the helm, four years or five years, then, he is not eligible to run for another term. It does not refer to any President who is elected weather two and half years or three years because under the current Constitution, when a President dies there will be no elections. You simply take over.”
Kambwili said President Lungu was not a running mate to Michael Sata because the Constitution at the time had no provision for a running mate.
“Now, when you take over in those circumstances, that’s where the period comes in. If it is three years and below, it’s not a term. You can run for office another five years but if it is more than three years, you cannot run for office because it will be a full term,” he said. “Now in this case President Edgar Lungu was not a running mate to Mr Sata. This must be understood because the Constitution at the time had no provision for a running mate.”
Kambwili noted that President Lungu was picked by the PF as their preferred candidate and he was elected.
Kambwili further said the PF is desperate to push Bill 10 as they want to remove one cardinal law, which states that anybody can challenge the nomination of somebody who has been nominated to run for President.
“He was elected in 2016 and he has been elected and sworn in twice and so he does not qualify to run for office. The catch here is that PF is desparate to push Bill 10, the reason is in Bill 10, they want to remove one cardinal law which states that ‘anybody can challenge the nomination of somebody who has been nominated to run for Presidency’. You can challenge within 14 days so they want to remove that and say, ‘you can only challenge the results after the voting’. But you and I know that in Zambia and in Africa, once in office, which judge of the High Court is going to nullify the results?” he said. “Which judge of the High Court? It’s only in Malawi and Kenya where these things can happen and not in this country. So why is PF in a hurry to remove the fact that you can challenge the nomination because they know that President Lungu does not qualify and when he files in his nomination in 2021, he will be challenged and once he is challenged and the courts say he is not eligible, it will mean PF will have no candidate because you cannot go back to nominations once the nominations have been closed. That is the thing here, that is the whole reason why PF wants to push Bill 10.”
Kambwili wondered why if President Lungu qualifies to run in 2021, the PF was scared of allowing Zambians to challenge the nomination of a presidential candidate.
He warned Zambians to wake up and see beyond the flowery clauses the PF are dangling stating that Bill 10 remains toxic.
“It’s because they know that once Lungu files nomination, it will be challenged and he will be disqualified and PF will not have a candidate, very stupid! We know these things. We are not stupid. That is why now they have brought chiefs, churches to try and help them push Bill 10. It’s not the issue of deputy ministers. It’s about challenging the nomination. People of Zambia work up, Bill 10 is poison,” said Kambwili.