Zambia: Court says Lungu is eligible to run in August poll

APA-Lusaka (Zambia)

Zambia’s Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to contest in general elections set for August 12.

The court dismissed an application by the Legal Resources Foundation, historian and political commentator Sishuwa Sishuwa and Chapter One Foundation to have Lungu disqualified from running for another term on the grounds that he has already served the mandatory two terms of office.

“The first respondent’s nomination is valid and he is entitled to stand for election on August 12, 2021,” the court said.

The three had petitioned the court for an order ruling that Lungu had abrogated the law by filing in his nomination papers as the ruling Patriotic Front presidential candidate in the August 12 general elections after being sworn into office as president twice.

According to the petitioners, Lungu had been sworn into office twice because he was not a vice-president of the country when he concluded late President Michael Sata’s term following the latter’s death in 2014.

Before becoming president, Lungu served as Minister of Justice and Minister of Defence under Sata and was adopted as the PF candidate for the January 2015 presidential by-election which was to determine who would serve out the remainder of Sata's term.

The petitioners had argued that Lungu was not eligible for a third term as he had so far been elected by twice - the first time being in 2015 and the second time in 2016.

Lawyers representing Lungu, however, contended that the one-year period which the Zambian leader served in 2015 when he was first sworn into office did not constitute a term.

This was the third time that Lungu’s eligibility to stand in this year’s elections has been questioned. The court has ruled in the president’s favour in the previous two court cases.


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