The former ruling party, the MMD, has questioned the legality of the appointment of independent Zambia’s first white Vice President, Dr Guy Scott, threatening to take the matter to the court of law to determine its constitutionality.
The MMD’s national chairman for legal affairs, George Kunda, a State Counsel, immediate past vice president and minister of justice, the position he held concurrently with the second highest state position, said recently that Dr Scott did not qualify to hold his current position apparently because he did not act as president on the only two occasions President Michael Sata has so far left the country.
But one blogger, Munshyawamunshya, argues that Dr Scott qualifies to stand as republican president, saying:
Article 34 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia 1991 (as amended in 1996) contains the notorious “presidential parentage” clause, which among other things states that for one to be president of Zambia both parents should be “citizens of Zambia by birth or descent.” […] This study will show that if Article 34 is read together with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lewanika and others v Frederick Chiluba, Guy Scott and many others would qualify to stand for the office of President of the Republic.
Munshyawamunshya, in reference to court cases of similar nature involving the first president Dr Kenneth Kaunda who is of Malawian parentage, his successor the late Frederick Chiluba, said to have been born in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and the fourth president, Rupiah Banda whose eligibility to stand for president was, ironically, challenged by the now ruling Patriotic Front because he was said to have originated from Malawi, observes:
The consequence of judicial interpretation means that a constitution like we have in Zambia is derived from several sources. First, our constitution is derived from a written physical document, which was passed by our parliament in 1991 and amended in 1996. What that document contains is our constitution. However, that document alone does not constitute Zambian constitutional law. A correct view of the constitutional law of our republic therefore should be found in that document as well as rulings of the High Court and the Supreme Court that have interpreted some sections of that constitution.
Munshyawamunshya further writes:
…[T]he court had identified serious problems with the requirement that a presidential candidate’s parents should be Zambians by “birth or descent”. The Supremes [sic] remarked that this law would present serious problems for the future. In essence they ruled that, this article couldn’t apply to Zambians whose parents were born before 1964—before there was a Republic of Zambia. Essentially then, people like Chiluba (born 1944), Michael Sata (born 1944), Rupiah Banda (born 1943), Guy Scott (born c.1940) and or Kenneth Kaunda (born 1924) cannot produce Zambian parents. This is because by the time that the parents of these people were born in the 1800s, there was no legal or constitutional entity known as Zambia.
Keeping with the arguments above, it is my conclusion that notwithstanding Article 34, Hon Guy Lindsay Scott can legally satisfy the requirement of Article 34 and can in fact serve as President of the Republic of Zambia. Unless overruled, the case of Lewanika and others v Frederick Chiluba is law and therefore applies to Guy Lindsay Scott.
Commenting on Munshyawamunshya observations, which latter appeared on the Lusaka Times, Janet C says that Africa is not ready for a white president:
Ok – so even if he qualifies – and I do not mean to be racist in any way – BUT in modern day Africa, it would be ‘politically incorrect’ to have a white presido ruling in a predominanly black society. I love ba Guy and think he should remain VP, but definately not presido – Africa is not yet ready for a white president!!!!
In response to Janet C, Peter writes:
#3 YOU HAVE A SERIOUS RACIST PROBLEM. GUY SCOTT IS A ZAMBIAN AND HE QUALIFIES TO BE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT. LET NOT COLOUR BLIND YOU. ITS HIGH TIME SATA STARTED APPOINTING GUY IN ACTING CAPACITY SINCE THE AIR HAS BEEN CLEARED BY THOSE WHO KNOW BETTER. I AM PRETTY SURE EVEN SATA WASN’T SURE ABOUT IT- NO WONDER HE WAITED FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR DEBATE.
On Twitter, one tweep had this to say:
Another tweep had this to say:
>@missbwalya: How was George Kunda Justice Minister
when he doesn't even understand our constitution? What a dull man. #Zambia