NO one is entitled to a third term of office as President, charges UPND president Hakainde Hichilema.
But PF secretary general Davies Mwila says the opposition should not get jittery with the landmark decision of the Constitutional Court but “must instead prepare for a free, fair and democratic elections in 2021.”
Reacting to yesterday’s Constitutional Court judgment that President Edgar Lungu did not serve a full term and can contest in 2021, Hichilema said when courts failed to protect citizens, the people had the power to map their own destiny.
“We have noted the Constitutional Court’s decision to give Mr Lungu a possible third term office. We, using our collective skills, are examining this decision carefully and will inform the nation of our detailed reaction,” said Hichilema. “But for now, we are saying that no one is entitled to a third term of office as President and when courts fail to protect citizens, the people have the power to map their own destiny. At the same time, we would like to remind those who want more than what the Constitution states that before even talking about a third term, they must check themselves on their capacity to deliver jobs, better health care, food and a resounding economy supported by constitutionalism. For us, it’s Zambia and Zambians first. And remember; people power! Our power! Our land.”
But Mwila said the PF was delighted with the outcome of the landmark decision of the Constitutional Court that had cleared the path for President Lungu to contest the 2021 elections.
“While we are elated, we will remain humble and resist the temptation to gloat, even though this decision comes at a time when self-proclaimed ‘defenders’ of the law have over the last few months advanced an erroneous understanding that the Constitutional Court can only be impartial if it ruled against petitioners who argued in favour of President Lungu running for his second term that commences in 2021,” he said.
“The President and the Party have always been ready to honour the outcome of this case, irrespective of the direction it would have gone. Those who went to court or joined the petition should also have been ready for any outcome. This is the same court that ruled against former ministers and also recently ruled against our members on the matter of eligibility for councillors to contest mayoral elections. We respected the decisions that went against us despite having disagreed with the court.”
Mwila said PF believe in the authority of the judicial process because without the courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation, laws were rendered a dead letter.
“What we have seen today [yesterday] is the vigilance of our highest court to give that true meaning to the Constitution of Zambia. As a democratic party, the PF applauds all reasonable voices that agreed or disagreed on the position of the current law. Whether we agree or not, we all need to respect the decisions of judges,” he said.
“Most importantly, those who proclaim to respect the rule of law must not only respect the decision from our court, but also make the law respectable.
Our country’s Constitutional Court is not a place where the resolution of disputes begins: but rather, a place where the disputes end.”
Mwila said the PF remained resolved in President Lungu’s sole candidature for the party presidency in the 2020 General Convention and 2021 Presidential Elections.
“Unfortunately for the opposition, they will have to contend with someone whose popularity they dread to encounter on the ballot paper in 2021,” he said. “We consequently exhort our colleagues in the opposition not to get jittery with the landmark decision of the Court. They must instead prepare for a free, fair and democratic election in 2021. Ironically, for more than a decade, some perennial presidential candidates have not had a manifesto to offer other than a simplistic wish list in the form of a flyer. How can they be taken seriously? We urge them to reflect on this basic flaw.”
Mwila said PF and the nation was blessed to have a leader of such “distinction as President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”
“His passion for development and his desire to uplift the standard of living for all Zambian citizens is as exemplary as his respect of the rule of law,” Mwila said. “He is a shining example to all of us in the party. Our people are therefore looking forward to a Cabinet with ministers with a like passion for development. They desire pro-active co-workers for the President who can follow the practical lead of our party leader and Head of State; by becoming more responsive and engaging with the public, defending both the party and the Presidency. As a party, we shall be calling out those ministers who are not seen to be more engaging with our citizens, especially our women, youth and students, to move out from their comfort zones and become more hands-on and engaging.”
He said President Lungu remained committed to an open-door policy.
The party shall therefore be glad to facilitate meetings between the President and interest groups that are interested in contributing towards a better and prosperous Zambia under the able leadership of President Lungu,” said Mwila.