Zambian politics: The Constitutional Debate

Hey everyone! As of the day of publication of this post, Zambia is officially 61 days away from the 12th August, 2021 general elections.

I’ve always been interested in the dirty game that is politics. At one point, I was so sure I wanted to run for elections in the year 2035 because that’s when I would be eligible to run for president. As at now, I don’t want that as badly as I did before because politics in Zambia is exhausting and yet the best time to get involved is now. This is not the point of this post. I’m here to tell you about one debate I found to be interesting in this election season.

As Zambia gets closer to the polls, people are more anxious, the tension in the air can be cut with a knife, cadres are knocking heads and well, it is getting a little scary. I generally love election season because of all the little but significant things that come to light. One of the most interesting debates so far, has been the eligibility of Zambia’s current president to stand in this year’s elections.

We have two main contenders for this year’s presidential seat, Hakainde Hichilema and Edgar Changwa Lungu. There has been an ongoing debate on the eligibility of the current president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to run for possible re-election.
Zambia’s constitution states that, “no person who has twice been elected shall be eligible for re-election to that office.” “That office” being the office of president. This is the source of the current issue. I’ll explain.

The debate here is, the current president of Zambia was first elected in January 2015, after the death of President Michael Sata. President Lungu was then re-elected in August 2016.
Some people argue that Lungu has served his 2 terms and therefore should not be considered eligible for this year’s election. However, the Constitutional Court says otherwise. The court’s argument is that Lungu’s first presidential tenure of office (which lasted one year and six months) cannot be considered full term.

What do I think? I think the constitution is quite clear when it mentions, “twice been elected”. That’s exactly what was done, he was elected twice. I don’t see anything about the length of the term. I personally don’t think he is eligible for re-election. The Constitutional Court may disagree with me and their decision is the one that matters.

However, the decision has been petitioned a number of times and today, the Constitutional Court is expected to deliver judgement on President Lungu’s eligibility. I’m looking forward to hearing what happens. (I will update this depending on what the outcome is.)

One fear that some people have, is the fear of us having a “Uganda story” during this year’s elections. For those who do not know, Uganda went to the polls earlier in the year. Quoting the Human Rights Watch, the elections were “marred by violence”. Internet was shut down during the election period to “avoid outside interference in the election.” During these same elections, President Museveni won re-election for a sixth term. You can read up on this if you want.

Today, people wonder if what happened in Uganda is what Zambia will experience. Other politicians fear that the decision by the constitutional court (allowing Lungu to run) opens doors for people to hold on to power. I truly hope not but power is sweet.

You Can Also Read: A Trip To Livingstone, Zambia

It has been an interesting 5 years with the most interesting scandals. We had the infamous 48 houses that allegedly had no owner for some time. The 42 firetrucks that were procured at an alleged cost of $42 million but definitely did not look the part. This year, the distribution of leaky condoms and defective gloves, authorized by the Ministry of Health, also came to light. The Ministry of Health has truly made headlines in the last one and a half years. How could I forget the debt crisis and insane depreciation of the Kwacha (Zambian currency). The list of things that have happened in Zambia is endless.

Away from that, there is another party coming up and coming up strongly apparently. The Socialist Party, led by Fred M’membe who is no stranger to Zambians, unless otherwise. I definitely have to do a lot of reading on socialism because 2026 may be the party’s time to shine.

Despite all this, I still love election season. I’m hoping we will have presidential debates this year, with every candidate in attendance. Those are always exciting to watch.

Do with this information what you may. I’m just hear to advocate for simple honesty in government and for the constitution to be respected. I’m advocating for the death of “cadre” positions because cadres are also what is wrong with our country.

I’m also advocating for young people to be adopted into these political and government positions. The people “trending” in these government positions are people who started out as youths and don’t want to give youths a chance or a place to start out. Anyway, people say if you aren’t given a seat at the table, create your own table or bring a folding chair. I think that’s more challenging if the table is in a room called politics. I don’t know.

Anyway, if you’re Zambian and you have registered to vote, I hope you show up on the 12th of August and do the right thing. I’ll end here before I say the wrong thing and my site suddenly disappears.
Listen to this poem by our favourite guest author/ poet TAP. In it, she addresses Zambia’s debt crisis. Click here to watch/listen!!

Let me know one thing though. If you were the Constitutional Court or you were the person who could decide if a candidate is eligible for re-election, considering the the situation I have described above, what would your decision be? Are they eligible or are they not? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for reading!
Wonani Xx

Hey guys! It’s day 9 of the Afrobloggers WinterABC 2021. This is the last day of Advocacy week and boy has it been a ride.
In what appears to be a trend for Friday, I’m taking you guys to Zambia and telling you a bit about what is happening in Zambian politics. I avoid writing about politics but I thought I should do this anyway.

Follow the blog to keep up with all the posts in the blogging challenge. Also, find all the posts in this year’s blogging challenge here!


15 thoughts on “Zambian politics: The Constitutional Debate

  1. Have learned about Zambia in this more than I ever read on it.

    It’s true power is sweet see our Ugandan Government it’s not only the president but the entire cabinet.

    Youth have resorted to finding other means to live their lives …

    It’s a place you wouldn’t want to get to… My stand I definitely would disqualify him.

    Why should a man be elected twice even… I say Once should be enough.


  2. Election season in Africa is an extreme sport….. our next elections are in 2023 and already its begun instead of working on the deliverables they promised the politicians are working on campaign strategy instead… and the constitution… that thing is in danger of being in crisis the Chief Justice is in a controversial term extension wrangle and if you cant trust the constitution to be upheld whats the point of having it.

    Its like all these our esteemed leaders attended the same How To Stay In Power Masterclass

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It actually sounds funny but it really isn’t 😂
      I thought that issue with the Chief Justice was already settled. The thing is, the constitution is so simple and clear about all these things.
      It makes you wonder why the Chief Justice wants to stay in that position so badly.

      The courts here decided the president is eligible to run. Now it looks like we had no president for a few years in Zambia lol
      You are right. What really is the point of having the constitution if it’s not upheld?


  3. Thankyou for Wrighting this😊. Things are really bad in Zambia. Just today there was a huge fight between the two main political parties in matero and on on my way from school there were police all over the roads. I just pray the elections this year will be peaceful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really advocate for transparency in Uganda’s elections. I don’t know how Museveni manages it all. Like if I was him, I can’t bear to have people getting pissed at me because I didn’t give them a chance. I once listened to an interview with Museveni. The journalist asked him why he doesn’t want to leave power. He simply said that he doesn’t desire power but people put him in power because they love him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our late former president was once asked on a BBC interview when he was saying goodbye to the people of Zimbabwe …. and he legit asked “where are they going?”
      he even said no one had as much experience as him running a country so no one else was qualified to succeed him.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. There’s also a little thing about how our behaviour enables them their entitlement..
          Case in point the current rise in COVID will see presidents addressing people as unruly kids who cannot look after each and now the government needs to step in and enforce discipline and strict measures…. But watch how they won’t so easily relinquish the control.


          Liked by 1 person

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