ATTORNEY General insists that President Edgar Lungu has not yet served a term in the Office of President of the Republic of Zambia because the period served from January 23, 2015 to August 11, 2016 does not qualify to be called a term according to the Constitution.
This is contained in an affidavit in response to a petition filed in the Constitutional Court registry over the eligibility of President Lungu for the 2021 general elections. Four opposition political party presidents have petitioned the Constitutional Court for an interpretation on whether President Edgar Lungu is eligible to re-contest in the 2021 general elections.
The four include Christian Democratic Party president Daniel Pule, Zambia Republican Party leader Wright Musoma, Pastor Peter Chanda of New Congress Party and Robert Mwanza of Citizens Democratic Party.
Joe Simachela, Chief State Advocate in the Ministry of Justice stated that the period during which President Lungu served from the 20th January, 2015 presidential election to the 2016 general election could not be said to be a term as it fell short of the requirements of the Constitution.
“That during the first segment as President under the said Constitution, His Excellency Mr Edgar Lungu had only served for a period of one (1) year before the amended Constitution came into force.
“During the second segment, and under the amended Constitution, the President served a period of six months from 5th January 2016 to August 11, 2016.
“That I verily believe that the amended Constitution as collectively read clearly provides that a term of less than three (3) years does not amount to a full term of office and the current President of the Republic of Zambia did not occupy the office of President for a period exceeding three (3) years under the amended Constitution,” he said.
The Constitutional Court is yet to hear the matter and make its declaration known.
The Attorney General’s office sought the interpretation from the Court on Article 106(5) (9) in relation to other constitutional provisions which he said must be addressed by a purposive interpretation to determine the eligibility clause.