By CHILA NAMAIKO and REBECCA MUSHOTA –
RAINBOW Party President Wynter Kabimba and former United Party for National Development (UPND) Katuba member of Parliament Jonas Shakafuswa have said the Constitution is clear that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to re-contest the presidency in 2021.
According to the amended Constitution Article 106 (6) 3 (b), if the Vice-President assumes the office of President in accordance with clause (5) (a), or a person is elected to the office of President as a
result of an election held in accordance with clause 5 (b), the Vice-President or the President-elect shall serve for the unexpired term of office and be deemed, for the purpose of clause (3). (a) To have served a full term as President if, at the date on which the President assumed office, at least three years remain before the date of the next general election; or (b) Not to have served a term of office as
President if, at the date on which the President assumed office, less than three years remain before the date of the next general elections.
President Lungu said last week that he will stand as Patriotic Front (PF) presidential candidate in the 2021 general elections if the ruling party adopts him because he was eligible to do so.
The President said he wanted to put his eligibility matter to rest by coming out publicly due to some PF members going round mobilizing themselves and their supporters in readiness for 2021.
Mr Kabimba said in an interview yesterday that the Constitution was clear on the matter of eligibility of President Lungu to re-contest the 2021 general elections.
“You…what does the Constitution say about this matter (President Lungu’s eligibility to re-contest the presidency in 2021) …? It’s very clear… he is eligible…I have said about this matter on several times,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Shakafuswa said there was nothing sinister about the President’s declaration to re-contest the presidency because he qualified to stand without any barriers.
“It’s very clear our President is eligible. The problem is that some politicians are looking at this matter with emotions. They know they will lose again in 2021, that’s why they are not being rational. We need to critically understand the Constitution on that provision,” Mr Shakafuswa said.
He said it was naive for some politicians to even suggest that President Lungu should resign owing to his declaration to re-contest the presidency without reading the provisions of the Constitution.
President Lungu, he said, had performed well in heightening development across the country, and there was need for all Zambians to give him another fresh mandate.
Meanwhile, support for President Lungu as the 2021 PF presidential candidate has continued to grow as more people have added their voices in favour of his endorsement.
On his return from Ghana on Sunday at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA), scores of PF supporters thronged the airport to show their support for his candidature.
Former PF secretary general Charles Chimumbwa said he was endorsing Mr Lungu because he was honest, reliable and hard working.
“In the past few days, I have had the opportunity to observe and evaluate the perspectives and agendas of every senior PF member and found that President Lungu’s honesty, pragmatism and insight into our
country’s problems and needs and his willingness to examine issues while listening to public concerns sets him apart from others,” Mr Chimumbwa said in a statement.
He said there was no need to experiment with anybody else and called for people to support Mr Lungu.
Lusaka Province PF chairperson Kennedy Kamba said Mr Lungu was the sole candidate for the party in 2021.
Mr Kamba said that all PF members should support Mr Lungu as the candidate of the party.
He also said that there was need for unity in the PF even as people debated the various aspects of the 2021 general elections.