I STRONGLY believe that there is great honour in observing the rule of law, says Bishop Simon Chihana.
Commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility in a write-up titled ‘Term versus time’, the Lusaka-based clergyman said he was seeking guidance on interpreting whether, based on the Constitution, the Head of State could contest next year’s elections.
”I have completely nothing personal against the President and my speaking does not represent any church organisation or any political grouping but from my heart. I just want to express my observation on the eligibility of President Lungu standing again as a candidate either on PF ticket or any other of his choice,” he said. “I write from a sincere heart and respect for the office of the presidency. We all know that President Lungu showed up as a candidate for the 2015 elections after the demise of the late president Mr Sata, and after Mr Lungu was declared winner, he was immediately sworn in as our sixth Republican President. Elections were held again in 2016 and Mr Lungu was declared winner and was sowrn in for the second time. My concern or argument is on being sworn in.”
Bishop Chihana said his findings in the Constitution of Zambia were that rather than an outright two terms, the Constitution talks about a president, “… who has been sworn in twice….”
“Yes, I totally agree that one has full rights to stand and rule Zambia for two terms as long as they win the elections, but what about being SWORN in TWICE? I strongly believe that there is great honour in observing the rule of law,” Bishop Chihana said.
“I remember the late Mr Sata trying to chastise me when he was swearing in those who were to sit on the constitution commission. He said, ‘I know Bishop Chihana wants to sit on the constitution commission and if he wants, let him first go and study law and I shall give him a lecturer’. This saying never bothered me a bit but pressure came from the media that I must respond and which I did and answered him in this manner; ‘That there was no need for me to undertake what he was talking about because even him as Head of State was not sworn in holding the Constitution of the land but the bible and that is the law I studied and am still studying’,” said Bishop Chihana. “Here I am needing guidance, knowledge and further understanding of the interpretation of our law of the land. If President Lungu needs to stand based on terms which consists of five years each, then he has every right to stand and I don’t think I can call it a third term but second term. But if he has to be stopped, let him be stopped on being sworn in twice already into office.”