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Alexander Mutale
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Zambia's Constitutional court to decide, this Friday, if current president will stand for a third term.

Lusaka, Zambia Current Affairs December 4 @ 9:32am

This Friday, December 7, Zambia’s Constitutional Court will rule in the case of whether President Edgar Lungu is eligible to stand in the 2021 general elections or not.

In November, 2017, amid this ongoing case to determine his eligibility to run for a third term in the 2021 general elections, Lungu warned the judges not to emulate Kenya’s supreme court judges by disqualifying him as that would plunge the country into chaos.

Earlier in the year, Kenya’s, Supreme Court judges declared the August presidential election null and void after a petition filed by main opposition leader Raila Odinga cited irregularities in the poll. This forced an election re-run, which was boycotted by Odinga, to the dismay of some of his supporters.

Lungu warned Zambia’s top judges that disqualifying him would not be in the interests of the people. He believed the only barrier he faced was whether his party, the Patriotic Front (PF), adopted him as its candidate, rather than what the constitution says or how the court would interpret it.

Lungu was first sworn into office in January 2015 after winning a presidential by-election to replace Michael Sata who died in office. He was re-elected in August 2016.

However, earlier, in January 2016, Zambia adopted an amended constitution which says a person who has twice held office as president is not eligible for re-election as president, and that a vice-president or another person who assumes the presidency due to a by-election, will not be deemed to have held office if they have served as president for less than three years before the date of the next general election.

Lungu, who became president under an old constitution, is hoping the court will declare him eligible based on the fact that he only served for 18 months before the 2016 elections, which he also won.

I THINK THAT whether the Constitutional Court rules that Lungu will stand or that he will not stand will have a bearing on Zambia’s democratic credentials to the region, the rest of Africa and the world. After all, Zambia regarded as progressive democratic country after smooth transitions of power among six presidents from three different political parties.

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