Term limits and restricting attempts on the presidency

Filed under: Special Comments |

By Isaac Mwanza

When Zambia attained its Independence in 1964, its first constitution had no law to restrict the number of times one may hold office as President of the Republic, just like there are no term limits for Prime Ministers in Britain, our former colonial master.

Britain does not believe in restricting the number of times one can hold office as Prime Minister provided the party gets the fresh mandate from the people while the American Senate decided to restrict the number of times one may hold office after Franklin D. Roosevelt was popularly elected by the American people for four consecutive times. In Russia, they have a law that allow a person to be benched for one term and come back again to run for Prime Minister for a maximum of two terms.

When Zambia introduced this law to restrict term limits in 1991, some UNIP members and party leaders said it was targeted at Dr. Kaunda. KK however went on to sign the new Constitution into law on 25th August, 1991.

Today, the first debate in Zambia is now about President Lungu’s eligibility to run again in 2021 which the United Party for National Development (UPND) and Heritage Party feel passionate about and have joined the petition to stop him.

The second debate is about an intended law meant to restrict the number of attempts one may run for Presidency during elections. The UPND don’t like anyone discussing this motion at all and have vowed, through its Deputy Secretary General Patrick Mucheleka, to fight this motion in Parliament. We have not yet heard anything from General Miyanda of the Heritage Party.

The common thread of these two debates is the idea of preventing the “wamuyaya” type of leadership on the Zambian political plane.

UPND have no problem spending money to fight Edgar Lungu going standing again but they have a problem against anyone intending to introduce a law that curtails party leaders contesting elections wamuyaya.

I wish the UPND and Heritage Party can offer suggestions on improving the law that is meant to curtail the “wamuyaya” entrenchment syndrome within the leadership of ALL Zambia’s political parties.

Kaunda was magnanimous enough to sign into law the Bill that provided for term limits despite the thoughts by colleagues that it was targeted at him. He could have argued that the practice of 2 terms is not universally accepted in Commonwealth and is not part of the law in Britain.

FTJ Chiluba, had an opportunity when his Parliament had 90% control of Parliament to remove that law but he didn’t. If Edgar Lungu had wanted it removed, he also would have utilised the last amendments to remove it but he didn’t.

UPND must act like Kaunda did by not arguing that no country has a law limiting number of attempts one may run for Presidency but instead support the improvement of a motion that will see our parties harness the potential of other able leaders within the parties to run for Presidency with new agendas than same old messages rejected by the people.

The UPND and Heritage Party ought to support the motion by the Chifubu lawmaker with the same intensity and applying the same resources as they had been applying in to fight Egdar Lungu’s intention to contest elections for the third time.

UPND cannot, in one hand, be championing the fight against Edgar Lungu standing for the third time but, at the same time, supporting the wamuyaya presidency within political parties.

Some of these parties have had their own party constitutions changed just to suit the desires of one leader staying at the helm of the party, a pattern that may replicate itself when such leaders are elected into power. This is one reason such a law cannot be left to party constitutions which are easily altered.


6 Responses to Term limits and restricting attempts on the presidency

  1. Another empty tin in the name of Issac Mwanza. First and foremost we mbwa we, what is your fear about the UPND and HH yet you always announce that he is not a factor in Zambian politics ? Secondly, don’ t you know from your rightful mind the difference between HH and your Edgar Lungu ?
    Iwe ka mambala, HH is only held responsible and accountable by his party constitution whilst your Edgar Lungu is held responsible by the Zambian Republic Constitution. Some of you guys, you call yourselves graduates and it’ s you the same people who have destroyed this country everywhere be it in the Mines or anywhere else because your education is not helping this nation at all, VERY DULL. Dr. Kaunda with his administration had a humble education but the guys ran a very smooth and transparent system. And quite the contrary with you guys because there is nothing tangible to point at that you have done apart from making very poor decisions and suggestions which have destroyed nearly everything that was started by the former guys. Ubun’go, so eco ulwisha kalilo mambala.

    Kaloswe Chimbele
    February 6, 2018 at 7:26 am

  2. The law of limiting the number of times one can stand as president is very welcome althogh I also believe that it is targeted at HH in an attempt to weaken the opposition but I would like to educate those who are advocating for it that a new law only affects events that occur after it comes into force. So the law can be introduced and it’s introduction will not take into account all the past elections. That is why even KK was eligible to contest the 1996 elections and in an act of desperation the ruling MMD had to bring in the citizenship clause. So if the law people are thinking about is a short term move meant to sort out people it will amount to nothing. Ifikopo fila landa landa sana without using their brains

    February 6, 2018 at 11:20 am

  3. The problem with the thinking of people in “shithole” countries is that they enact political laws targeted at individuals. They spend resources to ensure an individual reigns against the pipos wish or a political rival is prevented from taking over. with this kind of thinking coming from national leaders, for sure “shithole” countries will remain “shithole” countries for centuries. Look at what happened in Uganda, constitution changed just for one man. theres no merit in insisting that the number of times an opposition leader shd stand for elections shd be limited the same way it is for the governing president. this shows that some pipo are pretending zat they dont understand the reasoning behind term limits for governing presidents. The reasoning for term limits for presidents doesn’t relate to opposition leaders. wen presidents rule for long they become despots, dictators and thieves of national treasury. this doesnt happen with opposition leaders no. its a fact which even Lungu knows that for him to be in power today he rigged the elections in 2015 and 2016. Now look the problems that the rigging of elections has caused to Lungu: violence;and corruption in order for him to hv money to buy his political survival. this is a fact.

    koloko mukuka
    February 6, 2018 at 7:06 pm

  4. If a law to restrict times one can stand for the presido is welcome, What this Mwanza whether partener in crime with Nthewewe Mwanza or not is that law is never applied in retrospect. So it will not affect HH. Mwanzas don’t be blinded by kumaba kumodzi or wako ni wako.

    February 7, 2018 at 11:38 am

  5. Mwanza please spare us you idiotic thinking…differentiate between a party president and the republican president…Wako ni wako wont take you anywhere…the writing is on the wall and we know which side you are on…the battered side.What are you scared of with your pips…

    February 9, 2018 at 11:40 am

  6. This will not work as it will only apply from the time the law is passed. It cannot apply retrospectively. Retrospective application of law is not available under the constitution. All accrued rights, priveleges, interests cannot be tampered with.

    Its like a tax being imposed after you have done an act.

    For the simple minded. You buy a ticket for a bus journey for K10. You finish your journey and are told its actually K20.

    So any limitation will only apply going forward.

    Jonas Mwamkombwe
    February 10, 2018 at 10:23 am

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