THE Patriotic Front is preparing to set President Edgar Lungu’s third term bid in motion, with the printing of materials already in process.
In a statement that gave an indication of the Constitutional Court’s position on President Lungu’s eligibility in 2021, the Head of State last week warned that there would be chaos in the country if the judges barred him from recontesting the presidency.
According to Article 106(3) of the Republican Constitution, any person who has twice held the office of President cannot contest the elections for a third time.
But President Lungu has declared himself ready for 2021 saying he was eligible to stand as long as the Patriotic Front adopts him, despite the matter still being before the ConCourt.
He threatened the judges not to try and be adventurous like their colleagues in Kenya, saying that country was having problems because of the decisions of the courts.
President Lungu also claimed he had information that some members of the judiciary were inciting judges to be brave and do what their colleagues in Kenya had done.
But the Law Association of Zambia has asked President Lungu to retract his threats on the judges saying he, as a Head of State and a lawyer, must respect the principles of rule of law and separation of powers.
Several others, including individual lawyers such as Elias Chipimo, the NAREP leader, Prof Muna Ndulo and Canada based lawyer Elias Munshya, have clearly explained that circumstances under which President Lungu took over power did not allow him to contest the 2021 elections.
And now, sources have revealed that the PF had already started preparing campaign materials for President Lungu’s candidacy in 2021.
“Things have been set in motion, campaign materials are being printed for ECL 2021. During independence day celebrations on the Copperbelt, there was even a serious display of banners marked ‘ECL 2021’. There are constituencies that have already started and so much is happening in the background. A few weeks ago, the President’s private secretary Daniel Siwo was sent to Dubai on a mission to have the campaign materials done,” a senior PF source revealed. “No wonder you are now hearing strong statements coming from him warning judges about the outcome of the eligibility case; he knows the truth but now he can’t stand it. He seriously wants to contest in 2021 against what the Constitution says for a person like him.”
He revealed that many senior party members were not for the idea that President Lungu should go for a third term.
“But the only problem is that Lungu might force his way. If he does this, he must be ready to face the people who vote. Just look at the reactions to his statement! People are not happy. The best he can do is to leave with honour than trying to get a third term,” said the source. “It is a pity that a lot of money is already being wasted on campaign materials even before the court can make a ruling on his eligibility.”
But PF media director Sunday Chanda says his party’s main focus is not 2021 but service delivery.
“The PF is focusing on service delivery and that is what President Lungu is focusing on as well. We have a manifesto to translate into fulfilled promises. So when we implement the manifesto, when we are translating promises we made to the Zambian people, there will be those who are going to think that it’s politics as usual. No! It is not politics as usual, it’s service delivery,” said Chanda.
“The PF looks at 2021 of course but we also look beyond 2021 because we know that we have the right vision for the Zambian people. That is just a narrow way of interpreting the service delivery that we are doing. But we are doing this because we promised the Zambian people.”