THE notion that President Edgar Lungu should vacate office and hand over power to the Speaker when the UPND files its election petition has been challenged in the Constitutional Court.
An urgent application, by way of an originating summons, seeking for an interpretation of Article 104(3) of the Constitution, was filed in the Concourt yesterday.
Celestine Mukandila, a lawyer, represented by Shamwana and Company, said Article 101 did not make any such provision, but that such a provision only arose under Article 103 in the event of a re-run or indeed when none of the candidates could garner the 50 percent threshold.
The Concourt has been asked to interpret the section as a matter of urgency.
And the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) said that President Edgar Lungu should continue to perform the executive function until the President-elect is sworn into office even after the opposition files its petition against his re-election.
YALI governance advisor, Isaac Mwanza said that any petition brought at this stage when there had been no rerun would be brought under Article 101 (4)
He further said that Article 101 (2) does not provide for the President-elect to step aside and allow the Speaker to perform executive functions.
Mr. Mukandila, who has differed
with the constitutional interpretation offered by the Attorney General and the United Party for National Development (UPND) vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.
He said that the Attorney General made a statement to the effect that when a petition is filed into the court, the incumbent President should vacate office and hand over powers of authority to the Speaker.
“That on 17th august, 2016, at a press briefing, the vice-president of United Party for National Development, Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, reiterated this position that he believed that once a petition is filed before the Constitutional court challenging the Presidential Election results, the incumbent President Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu will step down as President and President-elect and the Speaker of the National Assembly will begin to act as President,” he said.
Mr Mukandila said that he had read the Constitution and did not believe the position taken by the Attorney General and the UPND to be accurate.
He has since petitioned the Constitutional court to urgently interpret the provisions of the Constitution to provide proper guidance to the general public on the correct position in relation to the incumbent President handing over power to the Speaker.