Interpretation of Article 106 as to whether President Edgar Lungu served two terms or has held office of Republican President twice cannot be moved by a nomination petition, Governance Activist Isaac Mwanza has charged.
In an interview on Thursday, Mr Mwanza said the mode of commencement of court processes determine whether a court can proceed to determine a matter or not.
Mr Mwanza said during nomination of presidential candidates in May, ECZ will only be interested in the answer to a question on whether a Presidential candidate is or is not disqualified by provisions of Article 100 of the Constitution and interpretation of Article 106 is outside their checklist and mandate.
“The correct mode therefore to seek an interpretation of any provision of the Constitution, including Article 106 on term of office, holding office or any other matter is the one which was pursued by Dan Pule and others, through a petition,” said Mwanza.
Mr. Mwanza said those who may want the Constitutional Court to interpret, yet again, what it means to hold office twice cannot move the court through a petition but only through originating summons.
“Much as they will be seeking the declaration of the court on the eligibility of a presidential candidate, a nomination or election petition is not the best mode to seek Interpretation of any provision of the Constitution,” he said.
Mr Mwanza has since advised entities who want the Court to interpret provisions of Article 106 to do it now through commencing an action using Originating Summons than wait to commence the same through a petition, which is a wrong method.
“It would not be surprising if the Court dismissed the nomination petition that seeks to interpret provisions in Article 106 under the guise of being a petition to challenge the qualification of a presidential candidate,” he said.
There are indications some civil society Organisations and opposition parties will want to seek an interpretation on the meaning of the phrase, “twice held office” in the Constitution using a petition.
Recently, Mr Mwanza won a constitutional Court case against councillors who resign but later retract their notice of resignation. The matter was taken to court through originating summons to interpret the Constitution and not through the petition.