Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Zambian Constitution Is Just Defective On Presidential Term

By Pumulo Mungoma
Activists demanding for a new constitution

As a social commentator and promoter of civic education, I will closely follow the court case that petitions that the 2016 general elections must be deferred to 2020 as our current Republican President, Edgar Lungu must serve a full 5-year term. Interesting, not so?!

I once argued a few years ago that then President Rupiah Banda 'banamufwenga' as he should have served a full 5-year term as our constitution states that an elected president must serve 5-years.

It does not say anything about a President completing a term for a dead, fired or resigning President.

But maybe it is because Rupiah had not gone to seek interpretation from the courts of law to claimed to him.

But for this new case there is no need for some of you- who think are correct on the interpretation of the clauses of our constitution- to haul insults on the petitioners who are exercising their right to ask the courts to offer interpretation of some constitution clauses.

The move is welcome, and at the end it is up to the courts to tell us the way forward: to have elections next year or not.

Personally, I believe it is our constitution that is defective on many key areas. Neither should we start speculating as to who is really behind the petitioning.

Let us recall that at the time of the death of President Michael Sata (MHSRIP) it was not clear on what should happen as to who should act as president.

It had to take what I would call as “generosity’ from then Defence Minister Edgar Lungu to graciously hand over power to then Vice President Guy Scott- who later oversaw a hotly contested presidential by-election.

I also once posted to ask my Facebook followers on what they knew would happen (according to our constitution) in case the top two contenders, say Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema drew in a presidential poll. A run off? To cast a die? To have a chair’s separating by one vote? If so, by who?
Former Zambian President Rupiah Banda

That is how defective our constitution seems to be. It is not clear on many issues especially on successions.

It is understood that as Africans we feel uncomfortable with discussing death related clauses. As a result we end up tying ourselves.

Probably we need a new constitution! Let us wait and see! I will not say much as the case is under the courts of law.

However, the underlining factor is that our constitution leaves much to be desired, and we all stand to follow and learn on what the courts of law will say on this case.

Lastly, it is yet to be known how the “case” of Rupiah Banda, who took over from a deceased president but served for less than five years, would have a bearing on this case!

Editor's Note: The views expressed in this article are of the author 

No comments:

Post a Comment