Zambian court to decide on Lungu’s eligibility for a third term

APA-Lusaka (Zambia)

Zambia’s Constitutional Court is expected to rule on Friday on an application to have President Edgar Lungu barred from standing in August’s presidential election on the grounds that he has already served the constitutionally agreed two terms in office.

The court reserved judgement on Monday after hearing arguments on an application by the Legal Resources Foundation, historian and political commentator Sishuwa Sishuwa and Chapter One Foundation.

The three have 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 has 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.

They are arguing that Lungu is not eligible for a third term as he has so far been elected by twice - the first time being in 2015 and the second time in 2016.

Lawyers representing Lungu are, however, contending 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 is the third time that Lungu’s eligibility to stand in the August 12 elections has been questioned. The court has ruled in the president’s favour in the previous two court cases.


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