The law in Zambia allows a president to run for a maximum of two terms, each consisting five years each. The Constitutional Court in the country has however given President Edgar Lungu the green light to run for a third term in the 2021 elections.
The issue before the Constitutional Court however was a tricky one which the country's laws had no provision for earlier.
The president of the Constitutional Court, Hildah Chibomba, said the seven judges who presided over the matter had an unanimous decision that the president was fit to run again.
In his statement, he said:
“Our answer is that the (Lungu’s first) presidential tenure of office…cannot be considered as a full term.”
President Lungu who was elected in January 2015 after the death of President Michael Sata. He served for one year and 6 months during his first term as president.
Lungu was then re-elected for a second term which began on September 13, 2016 following his victory in the August polls.
The opposition have kicked against the ruling saying that Lungu’s third term would violate the Zambian constitution which states that “a person who has twice been elected as President shall not be eligible for re-election to that office”.
In December last year, President Edgar Lungu openly warned that there would be bloodshed in the country if the courts declared that he is ineligible to run for another tenure in 2021.
Speaking to the judiciary not to copy what transpired in Kenya, he said:
“Don’t become a copycat and think that you are a hero if you plunge this country into chaos.
“I want to close by saying that those people who don’t like peace and freedom will say ‘President Lungu is intimidating the courts of law’ — I am not intimidating the judiciary.
“I am just warning you because I have information that some of you want to be adventurous, your adventure should not plunge us into chaos please.”
Header Image Credit: Chagwa Lungu/ EPA/JASON SZENES