This statement may be short but it had an enormous positive impact on the country. This clear, unambiguous and courageous statement was the first serious challenge to the intention by the ruling party to change the republican constitution so that President Chiluba could have a third term in office. The Church called the third term bid unconstitutional and undemocratic. The major bone of contention was that the law must never be manipulated for the advantage of individuals. Doing that can lead to the ruining of the rule of law. Hence the call on President Chiluba to make it explicitly clear that he was committed to protect the constitutional provision of limiting the presidency to two terms.
This strong stance from the Church gave birth to a civil society based national mobilisation against the third term. The Church was joined by the Law Association of Zambia and the Non-Governmental Coordinating Committee to form the OASIS Forum. The Forum mounted a nationwide campaign that led to President Chiluba’s decision to decline going for the suggested third term. This was a major victory to preserve Zambia’s fledgling democracy.
May God Almighty abundantly bless each and everyone of you.
For and on behalf of the Zambia Episcopal Conference