ACKSON Sejani says people must stop President Edgar Lungu’s illegal third term bid since the court has helped him.
On Friday, the Constitutional Court secured a slot for President Lungu to contest the August 12 elections as PF’s presidential candidate for the third time despite the Constitution not providing for such.
The majority of Constitutional Court judges in their abridged judgment ruled that President Lungu’s nomination was valid as Article 106(3) when read with Article 106(6) of the Constitution did not prevent him from contesting elections.
This is in a matter where the Legal Resources Foundation Limited, historian and political commentator Sishuwa Sishuwa and Chapter One Foundation Limited petitioned President Lungu for abrogating the law by filing in his nomination papers as the PF presidential candidate in the August 12 general election after having been sworn into office twice.
Commenting on the judgment, Sejani, a former local government minister in the Frederick Chiluba administration, said President Lungu’s threats against the judges had helped him.
“Now that the threats that Mr Lungu issued to the Zambian judges in 2017 have yielded the desired results according to him, it is now left to the highest court of appeal, in this case, the people. Our people must stop this serial lawbreaker in his tracks come August 12th this year,” Sejani said. “The ballot is the only way left for us to rescue ourselves from the jaws of this dangerous man who seems to derive a lot of pleasure from breaking our laws including the Constitution. This is our last opportunity to consign this dangerous lawbreaker to history.”
Sejani described President Lungu as a danger to democracy.
He justified his assertions by adding that the Head of State had not only threatened judges but also misled his ministers into staying in office illegally after parliament dissolved in 2016.
“It is extremely dangerous to have a president who has no respect for our laws that bind us together. A lawyer president who misleads his ministers to stay in office illegally after dissolution of parliament. A lawyer president who, when petitioned refuses to give way. A lawyer president who threatens judges to behave so that his illegal third term can be… Zambia is too beautiful to be put into such dangerous hands,” Sejani said.
He further charged that President Lungu only believed in force, not the rule of law.
“Mr Lungu has no respect for our democracy and has no time for the rule of law as well. Mr Lungu has absolute faith in brute force as a way of getting into power and also in retaining that power. His ascension to power in PF using pangas is testimony to what I am talking about,” he said. “He has used this brutal force to remain in power and that is the reason he never acts on his violent cadres who are maiming and killing people at a rate never before seen in this country. Think of Mapenzi Chibulo, Grazier Matapa, Mukonka Malesu, Lawrence Banda, Vespers Shimunzhila, Joseph Kaunda, Nsama Nsama and many others. Think of the Zambians who were killed during [the] PF gassing spree. The record of killings is mind boggling to say the least.”
Sejani added: “The signature policy of staying in power according to PF is to use force and violence.”
He called on all stakeholders to boldly condemn PF violence without generalisation.
Sejani said people’s failure to outright condemn PF violence has encouraged the ruling party to continue in that manner with impunity.
“Unfortunately, they have managed to thrive under this violence because many individuals, organisations and even law enforcement officers do not have the courage to call them out when they comment on political violence in the country. Even when they know that it is PF provoking violence many commentators are afraid to name and shame them preferring, instead, to generalise the condemnations,” Sejani noted. “This failure to call out PF when they commit their violence is what has led them to thrive and continue to wreak havoc while operating under the radar. This must stop henceforth. If it is UPND provoking PF at their function call them out and condemn them without unhelpful generalisations. Similarly, if it is PF provoking other parties at their functions all commentators including the police must have the courage to call them and condemn them as PF.”
He reminded people about President Lungu’s strategy of using violence to get whatever he wants, legal or illegal.
“The above observation is crucial as we enter the final stretch towards August the 12th. As we campaign to stop this habitual lawbreaker from retaining power, we must be mindful of the strategy that he always uses to get and retain power,” said Sejani. “What is it that gives him the confidence that he will retain power when the overwhelming evidence on the ground suggests that his time is up? He has placed his hopes on force using his violent cadres, unless we send sufficient notice that we will defend our will as it will be expressed in the ballot.”