By Justin Mupundu
President Edgar Lungu‘s eligibility to context 2021 polls debate is around political and not legal issues.
First and foremost, President Lungu’s critics deliberately orchestrated the so-called ‘Third Term Debate.’
However, President Lungu will seek a re-election for a second term in 2021 and not a third term as his critics has deliberately misinterpreted the Constitution’s Article 106(3).
Article 106(3) says: “A person who has twice held office as President is not eligible for election as President.”
But although, President Lungu was first elected in 2015 after the demise of President Michael Sata, Article 1016(3) does not bar him from re-contesting 2021 polls.
The spirit of Article 106(3) captures a scenario in which the incumbent President was first elected in 2016 polls.
But the law in question, which did not exist before January 5, 2016(when President Lungu appended his signature), does not recognize 2015 election victory as President Lungu’s first term of office.
However, the new Constitution recognizes 2016 election victory as President Lungu’s first term of office.Therefore, Lungu is eligible to re-contest 2021 polls as his second and not third term of office.
Secondly, President Lungu’s critics orchestrated the so-called ‘Third term debate’ to influence public opinion, and agitate for his exit from active politics as a smooth transition for regime change.
The matter is a straight forward case that would not have been taken to Court for interpretation.
The author is a Media consultant and a political analyst