Find us on Google+

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The lost Post Editorial....

The Post today mysteriously removed every trace of the earlier editorial Rupiah may have to vacate the Office of Vice-President and replaced it with a less explosive, but equally damning editorial Keep campaigns within the law. Now may be the Post was just trying to hit RB twice with two separate accusations, but it is revealing that the trace of the first and more explosive editorial is missing. I hope this will become clear tomorrow - perhaps, it will resurface, and was just posted by accident - grateful if those in the know can let us know (anonymously if necessary). Normally, I would not be bothered, but it strikes me the assessment in the first editorial cannot simply be ignored and swept under the carpet. If the Post stands by what it wrote, then it should do so and not run. If it doesn't then, it should hold up its hand that it was wrong in its legal intepretation. Excerpt:

And according to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, the supreme Law of our country, Vice-President Rupiah Banda may on Tuesday next week after he files his nomination papers as a presidential candidate in the October 30 elections have to vacate the Office of Vice-President.

We say this because Article 45(1) (2) states that the Vice-President shall be appointed by the President from amongst the members of the National Assembly. And under Article 65(1) (2), a person shall not be qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly if he holds, or is a validly nominated candidate in an election for, the Office of the President.

Article 71(1) (2) (f) states that a member of the National Assembly shall vacate his seat in the assembly if any circumstances arise that, if he were not the member of the assembly, would cause him to be disqualified for election as such under Article 65.

We have sought legal interpretation of these articles from very senior lawyers belonging to the opposition, the ruling MMD, the government and some who have no political affiliation at all. And their interpretation of the Constitution is that Rupiah will have to vacate the Office of Vice-President if he files nomination papers to contest the October 30 presidential elections.

This will mean that if he doesn't do so, legal challenges may be commenced against him before even the elections are held. If not so, there will be serious election petitions against his election after October 30.

This will also mean that Rupiah wiil become an ordinary citizen and will not be allowed to use government motor vehicles, Zambia Air Force planes and other state facilities that are not extended to the other candidates. This may be a big blow to Rupiah's campaign. But if this is what the law demands, then let it be so.

This constitutional requirement does not only apply to Rupiah. If Sakwiba Sikota on Tuesday files nomination papers to contest the presidency, he will have to vacate his seat in parliament. This is what the Constitution requires. For Rupiah he will not only vacate his nominated seat in Parliament, he will also have to vacate the Office of Vice-President which he can't occupy if he ceases to be a member of Parliament.

We know that in trying to justify the adoption of Rupiah as the MMD's presidential candidate, Tetamashimba told the nation that in doing so, they were seeking a constitutional advantage because Vice-President Rupiah would be able to use state facilities and resources in his campaign. We do appreciate that the party in power may enjoy advantages of incumbency, but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair and within the law.


  1. Cho,
    This is needs to be resolved! It is something that escaped everyone's attention. Any legal minds out there?

  2. Cho,
    I have just had a look at the relevant clause in the constitution
    Page 256.

    65(2) A person who holds, or is a validly nominated candidate in an
    election for, the office of the President shall not be qualified for election
    as a member of the National Assembly.

    To me it seems like this is very clear. The moment RB hands in his nomination papers he will no longer qualify to be an MP. The only way to get round the issue is to dissolve the national assembly.
    I could be wrong in my reading of the clause.
    The PANEL

  3. Useless attempt for the POST to run away from thier burden. Useless, kicks of a dying horse. Please Zambians are nt dull.

  4. Section 2 of Article 38 clearly states the conditions under which the VP is considered unable to perform the functions of the president.

    Furthermore no changes can be made to the cabinet during this period so his appointment cannot be revoked.

    By the time this issue is being taken to court, the elections will be over. Its a complete waste of time and money.

  5. Well, funny that the very people that sought to sidestep MMD procedures on Levy's succession (democratic ones for that), are back preaching about following the law to the letter. The paper that digs deeper has dug its own grave.

    That aside, and while I'm no expert in law, let alone constitutional law, on the part that says "...shall not be qualified for election as a member of the national assembly", I'd say that RB is NOT seeking election as a member of that body, because he's already one. It doesn't say, "shall cease to qualify".

  6. Cho, during a general election, does the president vacate the office when he gets nominated or does he continue in a caretaker capacity? This should tell you why they retracted it. If i am not mistaken, RB is there as a caretaker president until he hands over to the next don. He inherited all of LPM's powers and privaledges except dissolving the NA and dissapointing appointees.


All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.