Power and Politics

Lungu justifies calls for early elections, cites economic hardship, historical precedents


Ex-president Edgar Lungu says the call for early elections is a normal political pattern not only in Zambia but also in the United Kingdom (UK) and other democratic jurisdictions.

Lungu noted that the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, got approval from the British Monarch to dissolve parliament.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Lungu said Sunak consequently announced that early elections would be held on July 4, 2024.

“In all democracies, power belongs to the people and those occupying public offices are mere caretakers,” the ex-president wrote.

Lungu appealed to the government to respect the people, practice political tolerance, uphold the constitution and ensure that peace, law and order prevail in the country.

He stated that this was crucially important for national unity and collective prosperity.

“In 2019, President Hakainde Hichilema, as opposition leader, called for early elections and justified his calls as ‘in all democracies, the people have the right and power to call for early elections if they deem fit and justifiable,'” Lungu recalled.

He said Hichilema was correct because there was precedent for this in Zambia.

Additionally, Lungu wrote: “In 1991, the Zambian economy was in serious distress and near total collapse. Life for all of us who were there at the time was unbearable.”

He said the people compelled Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the founding president of Zambia, to call for early elections in 1991 instead of 1993.

Read More: ‘Govt scheming, plotting to arrest me at night,’ Ex-President Lungu alleges in Facebook post

“In that early election, Fredrick Chiluba and his Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) emerged as winners and Kaunda lost that election and handed over power peacefully,” Lungu highlighted.

He stated that last week, he made a similar call for early elections given the current economic crisis and the increasing high cost of living that had continued to harshly affect the people during Hichilema’s alleged misrule.

Lungu claimed that many Zambians and others agree with him that the UPND regime has failed to deliver on their promises and has been governing in “non-stop pilot mode.”

“Like KK in 1991, our president can agree to these calls and facilitate early elections, or, like I did during my time in office, he can justify with undeniable cause why we all must wait for 2026 as per the constitutional schedule,” he said.

Lungu said that in a democracy, it was all about dialogue and the exchange of views.

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