President Edgar Lungu has given the clearest indication yet that he will not accept a court judgment that disqualifies him from running for a third term in 2021, warning Constitutional Court judges that there will be chaos in the country “if they try to imitate or emulate Kenyan judges.”
And the Head of State has claimed there are people from within and outside Africa who are pushing for regime change by creating confusion on the continent.
Some small political parties aligned to the ruling Patriotic Front have petitioned the Constitutional Court to determine President Lungu’s eligibility after he declared his intention to have another go at the country’s top job. This is despite the Constitution barring anyone who has held office for two terms from running again.
Speaking on arrival at the Solwezi Airport in North Western province this afternoon, the President restated his availability to contest the 2021 general elections if mandated by the ruling party.
“People are saying Zambian courts should emulate Kenyan courts and I want to be very sincere on this one, people are saying Zambian courts should be brave and make decisions which are in the interest of the people but look at what’s happening in Kenya now. I am saying the courts of law in Zambia should also see what’s happening, they should not behave like they are not part of our African continent,” President Lungu said. “The most important thing I can say now is, 2021, I am available to stand if my party chooses me. But to my friends in the court system, I say don’t plunge us into chaos by imitating or emulating Kenya or any other court system for that matter which does not care for the interests of the people.”
President Lungu claimed he was not intimidating the ConCourt judges but merely warning them, saying “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
“I am saying this in front of you people because there are cameras in front of me, there are some Zambians who are writing this story, recording, because I have heard some judges say ‘why don’t we emulate the Kenyan courts? They are very brave’ I don’t think that is right. We should preserve peace, we should listen to the voice of the people, and we should listen to the will of the people in the Constitution. Whether I am eligible to stand or not in 2021 should not be dependent on the case in Kenya,” he said.
“To my colleagues in the Judiciary, my message is just do your work, interpret the law without fear or favour and look at the best interest of this country. Don’t become a copycat and think that you are a hero if you plunge this country into chaos. I want to close by saying that those people who don’t like peace and freedom will say ‘President Lungu is intimidating the courts of law’, I am not intimidating the judiciary, I am just warning you because I have information that some of you want to be adventurous, your adventure should not plunge us into chaos please!
“In English there is a saying, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. We don’t want to plunge this country into chaos because we are trying to imitate what’s happening elsewhere. We are a beckon of peace and freedom; let us keep it that way. I was on the ballot paper as candidate and I assured that I would protect Zambia and that I will do.”
President Lungu wondered why he could not go for another term when there were some politicians who had lost five times but will still contest in 2021.
“Right now, there is a matter in court which is subjudice but they are saying I have already done two terms and I shouldn’t contest in 2021 but how many people have done five terms in their political parties and still continue?
“If people who have been standing for elections from 2001 can continue up to now, but me they are saying I cannot stand again because I have done two terms, now we ask ourselves, let us be fair to each other,” President Lungu said.
And President Lungu says he will not allow regime change in Zambia, which he claims is being instigated by foreigners.
“I am saying this because the backdrop of what I said the other day in Lusaka, I said there are people outside Africa and others within Africa who want to bring confusion in Africa, they started with South Africa, Zambia and Kenya, I said it, I said look out, and I think the vice-president of Kenya was present when I spoke. There are people who just want regime change because they want to take over from us as managers…that I will not allow,” he said.