IT IS wishful thinking for any individual to suggest that the President must step down because there is an election petition in court, as there is nowhere in the Zambian Constitution where it says a Head of State must step down whenever there is a petition, says Professor Patrick Mvunga, SC.
The renowned Constitutional Lawyer said there was no such provision in the Constitution that demands for the Republican President to step down from his office because there was a petition against his elections after winning elections in the first round.
Responding to Hakainde Hichilema who claimed President Lungu had staged a coup d’etat, Prof Mvunga said it was not the first time that Zambian courts were dealing with a presidential petition, and there has never been at any point a President or even a Member of Parliament stepped down because of such court action.
Professor Mvunga explained that unless there was nullification at the full conclusion of such court proceedings, can anybody step down, and not at the filing of a petition challenging their election.
“I am not aware of when a President has stepped down or even an MP because of a petition against their election into office.
“If it is wishful thinking of an individual, that is fine but to think that it is actually in the law, I am not aware of any authority in the Constitution that says that,” he said.
He explained that unless there was nullification, the person declared as the winner of an election remains in office pending the court’s conclusion of such matters. Professor Mvunga was commenting on contentions by the opposition UNPD losing presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema that the President-elect, Mr Lungu, was illegally in office after the filing in of a petition challenging his election.
Mr Hichilema accused the Head of State of taking advantage of the power vested in him as commander-in-chief of the armed forces such that he bulldozed himself to holding onto power when he should have step down and hand-over the presidency to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Patrick Matibini.