Edgar Lungu’s Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 is evil and tyrannical.
A lot of attention needs to be paid to it. It needs to be opposed, challenged, and denounced all the way.
For instance, the creation of a “legally disqualified” person threatens our humanity and citizenship. The Bill defines a “legally disqualified” as ‘a disqualification by a court or quasi-judicial body established by law’ (s.76).
This legally disqualified person is disqualified from:
(i) holding the office of Speaker of National Assembly (s.23);
(ii) being nominated as a candidate for election as a President (s. 29);
(iii) holding the position of a cabinet minister (s.37);
(iv) becoming a judge (s.48); and
(v) being an Attorney General (s.62).
The term has been adopted to replace provisions that disqualified people from holding office on account of a “mental or physical disability” that makes the person incapable of performing the functions of the office.
The same term has been reproduced in the Electoral Process (Amendment) Bill N.A.B 11, 2019 as a ground to bar citizens from exercising their right to vote.
To try and simplify it, the term relates to the legal capacity of a person. The recognition of a person at law as being a person with exercisable rights. Legal capacity is a human right founded in a number of constitutionally-recognised human rights, including the right to equality before the law (art 18), the right to equality and freedom from discrimination (art 23 and 266) and human dignity (art. 8).
A person should not lose their legal capacity without known grounds provided by law and protection of due process. It cannot be taken away by a “quasi-judicial body established by law” as proposed. Unfortunately, that is what it proposes. So Hakainde Hichilema, Dr Fred M’membe, Harry Kalaba or Chishimba Kambwili can be disqualified from contesting the presidency if a judge declares them as such using any trumped up case.
This is the evil Edgar wants to plant in Zambia!