By Mukosha Funga
President Edgar Lungu has warned Constitutional Court judges that if they emulate Kenyans and disqualify him from standing again in 2021, they will plunge Zambia into chaos.
And President Lungu says he will not allow regime change in Zambia, which he said was being instigated by foreigners.
Speaking in Solwezi today, President Lungu told Zambian judges “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
“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!” President Lungu exclaimed.
“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. God bless you.”
He warned against emulating Kenyan judges saying they did not care about the will of the people.
“Yes, I want to make it very clear. 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. The most important thing I can say now is, 2021, I am available to stand if my party chooses me,” President Lungu said.
“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. 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, 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 dependant on the case in Kenya.”
And President Lungu said there were some people within an outside Africa who wanted a regime change.
“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.
“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?”
He wondered why he could not go for another term when there were some politicians who had stood, lost five times but would still contest in 2021.
“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.
Meanwhile, President Lungu boasted that the ruling party was the most democratic in Zambia today.
“That’s why I am saying I am proud to belong to PF because PF is the only party which is democratic currently in Zambia. I am saying this because if you look at the history of the current politics from 2006 to now, PF has gone through the process of electing its leaders. Mr [Michael] Sata was elected, myself I was elected and I believe that the people who will serve after me will be elected. When you lose an election, you are supposed to go back to your neighbours and say how did I perform? Can I be given a chance to contest again? Now people have been losing elections for the last 12 years but they still want to continue and contest in 2021,” he said.
President Lungu also said he was in the province to understand why the locals did not love PF.
“I have been here so many times from the time I became President in 2015 until today and I want to assure you, I will keep coming. I don’t mind whether you voted for me or not, I am in charge of this country so I have the duty. I have two reasons for coming here, 1, I have the duty to come here, two, I want to assure you that the day you also get to know me and accept me, I will be very happy.” President Lungu said.
“I am saying this because there are people in my political party PF who think I am wasting time by coming here. I want to tell you that as a Christian, I believe that the example of Jesus Christ abandoning 99 sheep, going to look for one which went astray is very true to me, that is why I am here. I know there must be a reason why people in this region support a political party so I have come to find out why you don’t love us in PF or why we are failing to win your hearts and souls. A child doesn’t hate its father unless there is something wrong. So if I stay in Lusaka, I won’t know why you are bitter and against PF so when I come, I want to listen and listen good. It is very important when I come here not to listen to the provincial minister or the provincial chairman but to listen to the lower ranks.”
The Head of State advised party officials to vote for quality leaders at all levels.
“I can only listen to you through the democratic process, when you start electing your leaders from the branch to the sections to the constituency to the district and eventually to the province. Tomorrow, we will know who is going to be a member of the provincial executive committee. I even know that as a political party leader, no one comes to the presidency unless through the party. As a political party, if you give us wrong people at constituency and districts, we will end up having wrong people in the province,” said President Lungu.
“And if you know that the fish starts roting from the head and the ordinary man on the streets, the marketer, the youths, the women, they are the backbone of the party. The strength of our party lies in the membership below. The attraction of our political party to outsiders depends on how you conduct yourselves as an orderly member of the party on the streets. It is for this reason that the process of electing leaders from below, upwards is very important. It gives you a chance to give a new mandate of those who are serving or bring them down or give them a new mandate and say you can continue.”