(By Oliver Chisenga and Ben Mbangu)
OUR position is to stop President Edgar Lungu to be candidate in 2021 because he has violated the Constitution on several occasions, says Mike Mulongoti. But PF member of the central committee Kebby Mbewe says President Edgar Lungu is unstoppable and come 2021, it will be impossible to unseat the ruling party. Mulongoti yesterday said President Lungu had no respect for the Constitution and therefore could not be allowed to continue to enjoy the protection of the same document he was abusing.
The People’s Party president said the opposition would use whatever lawful means available to stop President Lungu from appearing on the ballot in 2021.
“Our position is to stop him because he has violated the Constitution on several occasions. From no respect for the Constitution we cannot allow him to continue to enjoy the protection of the same Constitution he is abused,” he said.
“We should not wait for him to be a candidate. So we will stop him, whatever it takes we will stop him from going that far. We will stop them, we’ll use whatever means, lawfully, because once you violate the Constitution, you are in trouble. All those tricks he is playing using the courts will have to come to an end at some point.”
Mulongoti, a former works and supply minister, said stopping President Lungu from standing in 2021 would be a blessing for cowards in PF.
“We are helping to fight for them (PF members with ambitions) because most of them seem to be cowards, they can’t come out and openly say ‘I am standing’,” he said. “They know that they are going to put Zambians in a mess. They are just the same group of characters…. I can tell you that as we go along we will see more unhappiness emerging in PF because all those who were hoping that one day he would appoint them have seen his power reigning.”
Mulongoti wondered in whose interest the PF members would continue to allow a person violating the constitutions at the helm of their party and also the government.
“You will recall why they have gone to court to stop the impeachment is on the basis of that but I can assure you that Parliament cannot stop operations on account of a court appeal. There is a separation of power…the executive, judiciary and legislature and honestly does it make sense that you can go and stop Parliament from having an impeachment motion?” he asked. “You recall many years ago Derrick Chitala and friends went to court to stop a bill from being passed but the court refused that you can’t do it unless its passed in Parliament. So the same thing is going to happen whether they like it or not, 2019 will be a year of a lot of activities.”
But Mbewe says even if the opposition combined efforts and form one political front in 2021, they would not stop President Lungu getting 60 per cent votes. Mbewe said the Constitutional Court ruling on President Lungu’s eligibility had triggered massive defections from the opposition to the ruling party, especially in Southern Province because people have realised that it would be impossible to remove PF from power.
“There will be no opposition in 2021 that can deny President Edgar Lungu to get 60 per cent votes even if they combine efforts and form one political party because the incumbent is unstoppable,” he said. “We are very much sure, as PF, that as long as its ECL on the ballot, there is no opposition that will be close to cause a re-run.”
Mbewe urged those questioning President Lungu’s victories to stop because they were just wasting their time. He appealed to Zambians to rally behind President Lungu now that the ConCourt had cleared the air over his eligibility in 2021. Mbewe said the court victory was just a warm up to the big one in 2021 where all Zambians would endorse the continuity of President Lungu’s rule.
“We are aware that there is panic in the opposition camp following the ConCourt ruling because they know that no one can stand President Lungu on the ballot in 2021 owing to the on-going massive developmental projects countrywide and there is nothing they can do about it,” he said.
Mbewe said the ConCourt decision, which opened a third term door for President Lungu, had exposed the opposition’s weakness and dwindling fortune.
“No wonder they kept on complaining instead of preparing themselves to face President Lungu on the ballot,” he said.
Mbewe also said those accusing PF of not delivering were not fair because its works were visible countrywide. He said it was unfair for some people to choose to scandalise the PF government instead of celebrating its success in the delivery of campaign promises. Mbewe said those saying the PF has not delivered on its campaign promises should wait for people’s response in the 2021 general elections.