Sort out constitution Lacunas – Lifwekelo

THE Constitutional Court and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) have been challenged to provide interpretation for article 106 of the amended Constitution of Zambia on the term of office for President Edgar Lungu because it is unfair for the Head of State to serve for only six and half years when two years term by law is 10 years. And members of Parliament have been equally challenged to heed to President Lungu’s calls by ensuring the lacunas contained in the Constitution were amended. Former United Party for National Development (UPND) deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo argued that President Lungu was eligible to stand again in 2021 if he so wished because the Constitution provided that a person shall hold twice the office as President of which one term was five years. Mr Lifwekelo who is now a Patriotic Front (PF) member was reacting to People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti who yesterday suggested that President Lungu was not eligible to contest the 2021 general elections because he had been sworn twice by the Chief Justice as Republican President. Instead Mr Lifwekelo said it would be unfair for President Lungu to serve for only six years and half instead of 10 years provided for in the amended Constitution and challenged the Constitutional Court and the Law Association of Zambia provide the interpretation of article 106. He said as far as he was concerned President Lungu own term started after winning the August 11, 2016 general elections, adding that the 2015 presidential by-election was only meant to finish late President Michael Sata’s first term office. Lifwekelo said laws were made by the people and so they could be changed with time. “Orderly successions do not imply disadvantaging individuals from holding office of the president. “Two five year terms as stipulated in the republican constitution is simply 10 years period. Simple English,” he said. Mr Lifwekelo said being sworn in as president of the Republic of Zambia was not the same as serving two five year terms. “It is possible to argue that one served the remaining part of five years and at law there are no assumptions, you have to go by what the law says at that time,” He said following the passing into law of Zambia amendment Act No 2 of 2016 it was possible and had become inevitable for parliament to amend the current constitution to remove a number of cobwebs from the current amended constitution. Mr Lifwekelo said there were a lot of deficiencies in the current amended constitution and the directive by President Lungu to bring clarity to this constitution was timely and parliament must seriously deal with the Head of State’s observations. “There is already a precedent set by Dr Kenneth Kaunda whe had to do away with the remainder of his 3 years. It was basically a moral debate and not a constitutional debate,” he said. Mr Lifwekelo said even president Rupiah Banda’s exit after serving 3 years in office was a also a moral issue. “By law President Lungu would not have served two five year term by 2021. So there is no iota of truth to suggest that Lungu cannot stand again in 2021 if he so wished because the constitution can be amended to be fair to President Lungu. What happens to 11 years should he stand in 2021 cane be dealt with in the amendment. Laws are not casting stone, they can be amended.