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Can Guy Scott Act as President in the event of a vacancy?

Filed under: Most Popular Stories,Politics,Special Comments |
Vice president Scott

Vice president Scott

By Gongs Jhala

Article 38 is clear in that in the event that the Vice president can’t act as president in the event of a vacancy caused by death etc, the cabinet will vote one among themselves to act.

This is what Patriotic Front General Secretary who is also Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and crew are banking on. They will try to disqualify Scot and then convince cabinet that Wynter has already canvassed the country and is best placed to win the by-election and secure their jobs.

“38(2) Whenever the office of the President becomes vacant, the
Vice-President or, in the absence of the Vice-President or if the Vice
President is unable, by reason of physical or mental infirmity, to
discharge the functions of his office, a member of the Cabinet elected by
the Cabinet shall perform the functions of the office of the President
until a person elected as President in accordance with Article 34
assumes office.”

However, I don’t think the requirements for one to be elected to the office as President under Article 34 apply to the Vice President acting as president to fill the vacancy for 90 days. Reading Article 39, it is only persons ability to discharge the office of the President that is considered and not eligibility to be elected as president.

“39. (1) Whenever the President is absent from Zambia or considers it
desirable so to do by reason of illness or for any other cause, he may by
direction in writing, authorise the Vice-President, or where the
Vice-President is absent from Zambia or is incapable of discharging the
functions of the office of President, any other person, to discharge such
functions of the office of President as he may specify, and the
Vice-President or such other person may discharge those functions until
his authority is revoked by the President.”

So then who is eligible to be Vice-president? Article 45 provides for this and no where does it mention that the Veep should fulfil the requirements of Article 34 in order to be appointed as Veep or discharge the functions assigned under the constitution, which includes that of acting president.

“45. (1) There shall be an office of Vice-President of the Republic. Vice-President

(2) The Vice-President shall be appointed by the President from amongst the members of the National Assembly.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the Vice-President
shall vacate that office upon the assumption by any person of the office
of President.

(4) In addition to the powers and functions of the Vice-President specified in this Constitution or under any other law, the Vice-President shall perform such functions as shall be assigned to him by the President.”

Based on the above, I am of the view that Guy Scott is eligible to act as President if for some reason the Office of the President becomes vacant.


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