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ON DECEMBER 6, 2018 the Constitutional Court made a landmark judgment on President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to contest elections in 2021.This judgment, in our view , brought finality to the contention on whether President Lungu was eligible to recontest the republican presidency.It is, however ,disappointing that despite the Constitutional Court’s competent guidance on the matter , some people have refused to move on.They keep on debating the same issue and disturbing the
courts with unsubstantiated petitions.Suffice to say that anyone who has taken interest to read the judgment will understand that this case was closed once and for all.In this case, four opposition party leaders (PastorDanny Pule of the Christian Democratic Party ,Wright Musoma from Zambia Republican Party ,Peter Chanda of the New Congress Party and Robert Mwanza from the Citizen Democratic Party) petitioned the ConCourt to determine whether President Lungu could stand in the next election or not.It was questioned by the ConCourt that “Going by the parties’respective submissions, the main question/issue is whetherin terms of Article 106 (3) and (6), a presidential term of office that ran from 25th January , 2015 to 13th September , 2016 and straddled two constitutional
regimes can or should be consider ed as a full term?” Consequently , the Constitutional Court made a landmark ruling and pronounced that: “The period between 25th January 2015 and 13th September 2016 did not constitute a full presidential term of office.” In simple terms, the interpretation is that
President Edgar Lungu’s first full term only started on August 14, 2016 and runs up to August 12, 2021.This covers the period when he was elected for his own full mandate to the exclusion of January 2015 to September 2016 when he came in to finish late President Michael Sata’s term.Then what is so difficult to understand about this position? There’s no other authority best suited to legally interpret the Constitution than the ConCourt.As such,the ConCourt deserves respect for the noble role in adjudicating over constitutional matters.Those who have chosen not to agree with the ConCourt over this matter may have the right to continue on this path, but evidently it is leading them nowhere.Court rulings must be respected. Courts should not be viewed as objective only when a ruling is favourable.You win some, you lose some.That is the reality of life.Not too long ago ministers were compelled to refund Government after the court ruled that they were illegally in office after Parliament dissolved prior to the 2016 general elections.This ruling was despite the tabling of a strong justification by the defendants.After the ruling was made, they obliged and moved on.It is, there, folly for anyone to drag the honourable courts in the mud because one judgment was not favourable to their interests.Moreover, belabouring this matter of whether President Lungu is eligible to stand or not is a sheerwaste of time and energy .President Lungu’ s political opponents will do well to focus on selling their manifestos instead of trying to have a political rival disqualified. While it is commendable that as citizens they are exercising their rights by petitioning the ConCourt on matters of inter est, we contend that this is being done over a matter that has long been put to rest.Political parties must understand that they do not have much time left before the elections.They need to use this time to sell their manifestos to voters.Zambians are not interested in cheap and irrational politicking. They want to know what each party has to offer for the betterment of their lives.Debating a closed matter does not in any way add value to the list of matters that voters should considerin making an informed decision.The Patriotic Front and United Party for National Development recently launched their manifestos.It is time to unpack those manifestos for all Zambians to know what they are offering.Zambians are tired of being dragged backwards. Move on to more important and productive matters.