Court Backs Zambia’s President Seeking Re-Election In 2021

Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu

 

Zambia’s top court ruled Friday that President Edgar Lungu is eligible to run for re-election in 2021 polls after an opposition party argued he would exceed the constitution’s two term limit.

Lungu completed former president Michael Sata’s term after he died in 2015 before winning a full term in his own right in 2016.

“The presidential tenure starting on January 25, 2015 to September 13, 2016 cannot be considered as a full term,” said constitutional court judge Hildah Chibomba.

Lungu announced in January 2017 that he would seek a fresh five-year term in 2021, prompting opposition parties to block him.

The opposition United Party for National Development and the Law Association of Zambia lawyers’ association argued he was ineligible to run, having effectively served across two terms.

Three other opposition parties simply sought the court’s opinion on the matter.

“I hope the debate comes to an end. This is a victory for Lungu, it’s a victory for the (ruling) Patriotic Front and a victory for the people of Zambia,” said the party’s secretary general Davies Mwila who spoke outside court.

Hundreds of Lungu’s supporters celebrated outside the court following its ruling.

In 2017 Lungu warned Zambia’s judges against blocking him from running in the 2021 vote, saying a judicial intervention like that seen in Kenya could plunge the country into chaos.

Kenya was rocked by two months of political drama and acrimony, triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn an election in August 2017 over widespread irregularities.

President Lungu has been accused of piling up foreign debt and cracking down on dissent since winning the contested election in 2016.

Zambia’s opposition has accused Lungu of increasingly authoritarian behaviour as several politicians and activists critical of his regime have faced legal action.

AFP

Zambia Deploys Army To Battle Cholera After 41 Deaths

Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu has deployed the army to help combat a cholera outbreak that has claimed 41 lives in the capital Lusaka and affected 1,550 more since September.

The initial outbreak began on September 28 according to the World Health Organization and Zambia’s health ministry subsequently launched efforts to limit the spread of the disease.

Cholera is a water-borne disease which goes hand in hand with poverty and while readily treatable can be lethal if unaddressed.

“I have directed all the three wings of the Defence Force to join the Ministry of Health… to escalate efforts to minimise the spread of cholera in our capital city and the rest of the country,” Lungu wrote on his official, verified Facebook page late Friday.

“Lusaka has been recording an average of 60 new cases every day. I’ve noted with great sadness that a total of 41 people have died of the disease since its outbreak.

“The outbreak was initially linked to contaminated water from shallow wells and unsanitary conditions in the residential and public areas affected. But we now note that the spread of cholera is being propagated through contaminated food.”

Lungu added that there would be a crackdown on street food stalls, bars and restaurants that do not meet minimum food hygiene standards.

“I am deeply concerned at the rampaging advance of the outbreak,” he said.

AFP

Lungu To Be Sworn In As Opposition Misses Election Challenge Deadline

Lungu_ZambiaZambia will press on with swearing in its president, Edgar Lungu, for another five-year-term next week, after the opposition missed a deadline to challenge his re-election, a senior official said on Monday.

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema had filed a petition in constitutional court last month, saying the Aug. 11 vote was rigged and Lungu’s victory should be annulled. But he missed a Friday deadline to present evidence to back up his charge, and the top court ruled on Monday not to extend the time limit.

Hichilema’s UPND party said it rejected the ruling.

“We wish to put it on record that we have not lost an election, neither have we lost the petition which was before the Constitutional Court,” the party said in a statement.

“We have rejected the court ruling in that the judgment was passed on an application from the respondents without allowing us to respond,” it said, without outlining its next move.

Lungu, who won 50.35 percent of the vote according to the official results, will take the oath of office on Tuesday next week, later than the original Aug. 23 date, cabinet secretary Roland Msiska said.

Lungu has been the head of the ruling Patriotic Front since its leader, Michael Sata, died in 2014. He won the presidency the following year, defeating Hichilema in their first electoral confrontation.

Zambia is Africa’s second-largest copper producer, and slumping commodity prices have afflicted it with mine closures, rising unemployment, power shortages and soaring food prices.

Zambia’s Edgar Lungu To Be Sworn-In September 13

zambia, Edgar LunguZambia’s incumbent, President Edgar Lungu, will be sworn into office for a new 5-year term on Tuesday next week, a government official said on Monday.

Secretary to the Cabinet, Roland Msiska, said in a statement that the government would proceed with the inauguration as the Constitutional Court has missed a 14-day deadline to rule on the opposition’s legal challenge to the presidential vote.

Zambian President Lungu Re-elected In Vote Rival Disputes

ZambiaZambian President, Edgar Lungu, narrowly won re-election on Monday in a vote his main rival said was rigged.

Hakainde Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND) said it would appeal the result at the Constitutional Court, accusing election officials of fraud during the count which began after voting ended on Thursday.

Lungu faced a tough challenge from Hichilema in a campaign to rule over Africa’s second-largest copper producer which has suffered an economic slump due to depressed commodity prices.

According to Reuters, Lungu, who narrowly beat Hichilema in a vote last year to replace late President Michael Sata, won 50.35 percent of the vote against 47.63 for his opponent, the Election Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said on Monday.

Hundreds of Lungu’s supporters, most of them young men draped in the regalia of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), took to the streets, chanting slogans and singing, while drivers hooted their car horns in celebration.

“I’m happy that Edgar Lungu can continue to be president because I see a good future with him. I want him to create jobs for young people,” said 15-year-old Zegu Kaunda who said he wanted to study law like Lungu.

But student Harrison Simenda, 24, who supports Hichilema, popularly known as HH, said: “They have stolen this election from HH but they will not enjoy it because I see very tough times ahead for our economy”.

UPND party lawyer Jack Mwiimbu told reporters: “We have evidence to the effect that the votes for Hakainde Hichilema have been deliberately reduced in collusion with the Election Commission of Zambia”.

Zambia To Hold Elections On August 11

ZambiaThe government of Zambia has announced that the country will hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on August 11, 2016.

The date is specified in the country’s new constitution which is due for ratification and the President’s assent.

The announcement of the election date was made public on Monday by the Presidential Spokesperson, Amos Chanda.

The incumbent President, Edgar Lungu, is expected to stand for election in a possible neck-in-neck contest with his 2015 major opponent, Hakainde Hichilema.

Hichilema, a wealthy economist of the opposition, United Party for National Development (UPND) was defeated by President Lungu, who is a lawyer by 48.3% of the vote to 46.7%.

As the crucial news in Zambia is about the country’s elections, the other is a sharp reversal in the increase in electricity tariffs.

Presidential Election Holds In Zambia

Zambia
Zambians queue to cast their ballots for the Zambian Presidential elections at Kanyama primary in Lusaka on January 20, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Voting began on Tuesday for the next president of Zambia, one of Africa’s most promising frontier markets, in what shaped up as a tight race between a populist lawyer and a wealthy economist.

Edgar Lungu, leader of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), is seen having a slight edge over main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, a businessman whose United Party for National Development (UPND) has won over the middle-class and investors.

The two candidates had promised to improve the economy and create jobs in the country.

The winner would serve out the remaining 18 months of Michael Sata’s term as Zambia is due to hold a general election in 2016.

Former President, Michael Sata, passed away in October 2014 and Vice President Guy Scott became acting President of Zambia.

Observers have said that the election has been largely peaceful.

Counting of the ballots would begin shortly after polls close with results due to be announced within 48 hours.

Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after Democratic Republic of Congo. Its mining sector had experienced a boom in recent years with the economy averaging a 6 to 7 percent growth.

It however slowed to to 5.5 percent in 2014 from being one of the world’s best performing economies.