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ECL not eligible – State

By GRACE CHAILE

ATTORNEY General, Mulilo Kabesha has asked the Constitutional Court to vacate its decision declaring former President Edgar Lungu is eligible to seek another term of office.

According to Mr Kabesha, former President Lungu has already served two terms in office, and is thus, not eligible to contest future elections, including the 2026 general elections.

Mr Kabesha has submitted to the Constitutional Court that article 106(3) of the Republican Constitution mandatorily precludes and prohibits any such person who had twice held the Office of President from taking part in Presidential elections.

“Article 106(3) strictly provides that, under no circumstances, should any such person hold the office of President more than twice, and that dictate is nonnegotiable. On the other hand, article 106 (6) conflicts with the above position by suggesting that three years should be an exception,” he contended.” 

“It must be indicated that since the former is a positive constitutional prohibition, and it definitely supersedes the provisions contained in the latter, and as such, the dictates of Article 106(3) will be enforced as if the conflicting substance of article 106(6) does not exist,” Mr Kabesha argued.

He urged the court to vacate its decision the case of Legal Resources Foundation Limited, Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa and Chapter One Foundation Limited vs Edgar Chagwa Lungu and AG :2021/ccz/ 0023, 2021/CCZ/0027 because article 106 of Act no. 2 of 2016 does not have retrospective effect.

“It is our humble and considered view that this matter is not about eligibility of the first respondent (Mr Lungu) per se, but rather, it is about the eligibility of any such person who has twice held the office of President now and in the future, and the idea is to protect the fundamentals of constitutionalism, as submitted herein. Therefore, it is our humble invitation for this court to accordingly look at the bigger picture,” he submitted.

Mr Kabesha has encouraged the court to grant the reliefs been sought by the petitioner, Mr Michelo Chizombe.

Mr Chizombe cited Mr Lungu, Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Attorney General as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner, seeks the court’s declaration that the former Head of State was not eligible to contest any future Presidential elections under the current 2016 amended constitution.

The petitioner also seeks a relief that Mr Lungu’s participation in the 2021 elections was in breach of the constitution.

He seeks a declaration that the entire Article 106 of the constitution (amendment) no.2 of 2016 did not apply to former President Lungu’s presidential term between January 25, 2015 and September 13, 2016.

Mr Chizombe wants the ConCourt to give a combined interpretation of Section 7 Act no.1 of 2016 and Section 2 of the same Act.

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