By SILUMESI MALUMO
OPPOSITION Presidential aspirants will suffer greater disadvantage if the current nomination challenging law is not changed, Lusaka lawyer, Makebi Zulu has said.
Mr Zulu said whereas President Edgar Lungu was not amenable to court action, opposition aspirants would endure prolonged court action.
He said Article 52 in the 2016 amended constitution will affect the opposition leaders who will want to contest for the presidency in 2021 if not amended.
And Mr Zulu said President Edgar Lungu is willing to give the Zambian people the constitution that will be conducive to all.
Article 52 stipulates a number of conditions and that a candidate is qualified for nomination as President, Member of Parliament or councillor, in the manner, on the day, and at the time and place set by the Electoral Commission by regulation.
A returning officer has power to reject a nomination paper if the candidate does not meet the qualifications or procedural requirements specified for election to that office.
The law requires that a person may challenge, before a court or tribunal, as prescribed, the nomination of a candidate within seven days of the close of nomination and the court shall hear the case within twenty-one days of its lodgment.
Mr Zulu who is Eastern Province Minister said yesterday, article 52 would not in any way affect the Head of State but would negatively affect the opposition leaders.
He said those who intend to petition President Lungu’s nomination should know that even when he was taken to court he would not be barred from campaigning unlike the opposition leaders.
Mr Zulu who is also Malambo Member of Parliament, said if any opposition leader would be petitioned after nomination period, they would be required to be present at the court proceedings but President Lungu would be represented by the Attorney General as he was an incumbent Head of State.
Mr Zulu said those who were opposition sympathisers opposing for the amendment of the article must bear in mind that their candidates would be severely affected if petitioned.
“Article 52 even when amended or left in the manner it is, will not affect President Edgar Lungu, President Lungu will not be the one who will go to court and answer to that issue of nominations because he is the incumbent. It will be the Attorney General who will be going there and President Lungu will be busy campaigning.
“But if a person like Tayali or Hakainde Hichilema were to be petitioned they will be the ones to go to court and ensure that they go through the court process and that will not be in their best interest because they need to campaign,” Mr Zulu said.