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Zambia: Groups blast president’s bid for 3rd term

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A 3rd term for Edgar Lungu would violate the Constitution, says coalition of NGOs, opposition parties, faith groups.

An alliance of opposition political parties, NGOs, and religious movements Saturday blasted Zambia’s top law enforcement official for claiming the president can seek a third term, despite an apparent constitutional prohibition.

On Friday, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka told the Constitutional Court to declare that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to seek a third term in office in 2021.

Lungu’s first term, succeeding late President Michael Chilufya Sata, lasted just one year, but under the Constitution, a person who filled the seat of a deceased president is deemed to have served a full term in office.

Speaking for the protesting group, Bishop John Maambo, a former Church of God overseer, told reporters that Lungu’s term in office is set to end in 2020 but the government wants to let him run again.

“After being elected in January 2015 to fill the vacancy created by the death of President Michael Chilufya Sata in October 2014, Lungu does not qualify for another term of office.”

He added, “In the eyes of the law, Lungu completed his first of term in office when he sought a fresh mandate.”

According to the coalition, Lungu’s election last August marked his second and final term in office.

“By seeking another term after 2020, Lungu will be violating the Constitution,” said Maambo.

The court judges are likely to grant Lungu the right to run again since they he appointed them, Maambo argued.

The court has not set a date to rule on Lungu’s eligibility, but one is expected by April.

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