Photo: Zambian Watchdog President Edgar Lungu signed the Constitution of Zambia bill making a significant step on a matter that had long dominated the political life of the nation.
Photo: Zambian Watchdog President Edgar Lungu signed the Constitution of Zambia bill making a significant step on a matter that had long dominated the political life of the nation.

Zambia’s governing party on Friday welcomed a ruling by the Constitutional Court to declare President Edgar Lungu eligible to seek re-election in 2021.

The court ruled that Lungu is eligible to contest for elections in 2021 as he did not serve a full term between 2015 and 2016 as the time he served to finish the term left by his predecessor, Michael, Sata did not constitute a full term.

The court said Lungu’s first full term started after winning the 2016 elections, he is therefore eligible to seek re-election in line with the country’s constitution, which provides for two five-year terms.

Davies Mwila, secretary-general of the Patriotic Front (PF), welcomed the ruling, saying it is a victory not only for Lungu but the party as well.

“The record has now been put straight because the Constitutional Court has ruled that President Lungu is eligible to stand in 2021,” he told hundreds of party supporters who had thronged the court to await the ruling.

He hopes that the court’s ruling will now bring to an end the debate which has been raging on Lungu’s eligibility to seek re-election so that people could now concentrate on building the economy.

According to him, the decision by the court to declare Lungu as eligible to seek re-election has given a true meaning to the country’s constitution as it comes at a time when “self-proclaimed defenders of the law” have over the last few months advanced an erroneous understanding that the court could only be impartial if it ruled against petitioners who argued in favor of the Zambian leader.

But Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the country’s leading opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), said the party will examine the decision with its lawyers before coming up with a detailed reaction.

He however said in a statement that they will not allow anyone to seek for a third term of office, adding that citizens have the power to map their own destiny when the courts fail to protect them.

The issue of Lungu’s eligibility to contest the 2021 polls was brought before the Constitutional Court by four small opposition political parties aligned to the governing party. Enditem

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