Zambian party seeks to bend rules for presidential term

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Zambia’s Attorney-General, Mumba Malila and Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president, Elijah Banda have dismissed accretions that the new president to be elected rule for the next five years.

This comes after the Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata said in a statement that whoever wins the October 30 Presidential elections is supposed to rule till 2011. “The life of the current National Assembly is five years from September 2006. This means that the term will come to an end in 2011,” Malila said in a Press statement.

He explained that in terms of Article 88(6) of the Constitution, the National Assembly stands dissolved at the end of five years from the date of its first sitting. Malila also said the election of the president would not affect the term of the National Assembly as Article 88(7) states: “Whenever the National Assembly is dissolved there shall be presidential elections and elections to the National Assembly.”

He said although in terms of Article 35 (1), every president shall hold office for a period of five years, that term is subject to the provision for dissolution of the National Assembly. “The president cannot avoid being subject to Presidential elections after the dissolution of the National Assembly,” he said.

Although there were about three years remaining before a general election is called in 2011, for purposes of the constitution, the election of October 30, 2008 would count towards the two-term limitation on the presidency.

“The constitution does not say a person who has served two terms will not be eligible for re-election. The determining words are ‘twice elected’ for purposes of limitation,” he said.

Reports say Sata’s statement drew sharp criticism at him.

United Church of Zambia’s Bishop Njase described Mr Sata’s stance on 2011 elections as the beginning of the opposition leader’s downfall.

Bishop Njase said it was surprising that Mr Sata could start bending the constitution when he was not even president. “It is surprising that Mr Sata could be cheating the people. Imagine if he became president,” Bishop Njase said.

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