…all those without Grade 12 certificates knocked out
SHOCKWAVES have struck all parties after revelations that no candidate without a Grade 12 certificate will be allowed to contest, the Presidency, Vice Presidency, Parliament and council elections.
According to the newly passed constitutional bill, yet to be assented by President Edgar Lungu next week, all candidates for the elective offices must have grade 12 certificates or its equivalent to qualify to stand.
A large number of MPs and majority of Councilors do not have Grade 12 certificates, which may lead to a crisis of candidates especially in rural areas.
In addition public officers wishing to contest must have been out of service for more than three years to qualify to contest, while those wishing to contest as independent candidates must not belong to a political party for two months before contesting.
The Constitution Amendment Bill has therefore eliminated all those aspiring elective positions in an election but do not possess Grade 12 academic qualification from being elected as republican President, Vice-President, members of Parliament or indeed councillors.
But United Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba said he would only be able to discuss the clause on presidential running mate in the Constitution Amendment Bill after President Lungu had assented to the document.
Mr Mwamba said he was in politics not because he was desperate for positions but that his desire was to serve the millions of Zambians who were suffering because of what he termed bad governance and poor leadership.
Clause 162 of the Constitution Amendment Bill states that a person qualifies to be elected as a councillor if that person is not less than 19 years of age and has obtained, as minimum academic qualification, a Grade 12 certificate or its equivalent.
At both presidential and Parliamentary level, the qualifications for one to be elected president, vice-president and member of Parliament are the same which is a Grade 12 certificate or its equivalent.
And Mr Mwamba said it was premature for him to comment on the presidential running mate and its qualifications and that he was ready to give his views after President Lungu had assented to the new amended Constitution.
Mr Mwamba claimed that his priority as the UPND vice-president was not to earn a position because as a successful businessman, he was already living better than the President.
“It is premature for me to discuss the presidential running mate (clause) this time. I will wait until the President assents to the Constitution Amendment Bill before commenting on the qualifications for one to contest any elective position in the general elections next year.
“You should know that I am not a desperate man looking for a position in politics. I want to serve many Zambians who do not know where their next meal is going to come from. You must understand I live better than the President,” Mr Mwamba said.