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OPPOSITION MP U-TURNS ON ELIGIBILITY CASE

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

IN a strange development, UPND Member of Parliament Bampi Kapalasa has amended his petition stating that President Edgar Lungu is not eligible to contest the August 12 general elections, a u-turn on his earlier petition which drew the wrath of his party.

The Katuba parliamentarian in his initial petition to the Constitutional Court filed on Tuesday, said it was his belief that President Lungu is eligible to contest the elections but wants the court to clearly pronounce itself on the debatable matter to remove any doubts.

Mr Kapalasa claims the words that President Lungu is eligible to contest the elections in his initial petition were a typographical error and should read that President Lungu is not eligible to run as a candidate in the fourth coming elections.  “That it has come to my attention that there are typographical errors and omissions in the originating process which now I wish to amend in order to enable this honourable court determine this matter on its merits,” he stated. The filing of the amended petition came barely a day after the UPND through their Secretary General, Ms Batuke Imenda distanced itself from the petition and insisted that as a party, Mr Lungu was not yet a candidate for elections and was not aware of the court process started by Mr Kapalasa.

In his amended petition filed yesterday, Mr Kapalasa stated that he was aggrieved that the Constitution, as amended by Act no.2 of 2016, is not clear as to whether or not President Lungu or any other person in his position who was first elected in a by-election or any election which is not a general election is eligible to run for the Presidency for the third time.

“That the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia was amended on 5th January, 2016 and thereby repealing the 1996 Constitution (as amended by Act no 18 of 1996) which was used to regulate the first Presidency of his Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu which 1996 Constitution had clearly limited, without exceptions in terms of an elected president to as per its article 35 (5),” Mr Kapalasa stated.

He said for the interest of the citizens, the Constitutional Court should make a clear interpretation of the provisions in the current constitution as to whether the incumbent President is eligible to run for the third term while taking into consideration the impugned Article 106 (1), (3) and (6) (a) and (b) of 2016 of the constitution.

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