NAREP president Elias Chipimo says he is extremely shocked to hear that at the time when President Edgar Lungu was moving to sign the US$500 million sovereign guarantee for a Zesco loan, State House was aware that the Constitution Court was going to nullify the stay of minister’s in office.
Explaining why President Lungu personally signed the controversial sovereign guarantee in 2016 when Cabinet was not dissolved after the dissolution of parliament, Chanda said State House knew that the Constitutional Court was going to overturn the High Court ruling on the minister’s stay in office.
“This was signed after the elections, but the negotiations finished on 8th August. We had known then that the following day on 9th August, the ConCourt was going to nullify the stay of ministers in office, we had known that that was going to be the decision. I remember this was actually when he was making Cabinet, we were at Nyamvu lodge. The conclusion between Zesco finished on the 8th but the signature must have taken place between 16th and 23rd August. So after the elections, it was very certain that there was no Cabinet,” said Chanda.
But Chipimo said he was stunned to hear the revelation from Chanda that State House was aware of a court ruling a day before.
“For a senior advisor to the President to make such a brazen statement that he was aware, and to repeat that statement that he was aware of the decision that was going to be made is a fundamental breach of the concept of separation of powers and borders on a very deep illegality in the methods that are being applied by those who hold the highest offices in the country. It is deeply worrying and I never thought, even in my wildest dreams, and with everything that is going on at the moment, that we would ever get such an explicit admission of interference in the Judiciary by senior ranking officials within State House,” Chipimo said.
Q. Does that mean that the Judiciary is porous or does it mean that the executive is prodding itself into the Constitutional Court? What is happening, in your view?
“These things now tie up with the Statement that the President made in Solwezi that he was aware about the ConCourt judges decision regarding his eligibility case. I think that there were some who were willing to give the Head of State a benefit of doubt with some of his comments thinking that maybe they were just throw away comments intended to intimidate the judiciary but with this admission by his senior advisor for press and public affairs, this really makes us wonder what else has been going on.”
He said there was need for a probe into all court ruling that were made in fevor of the Head of State.
“We need to go all the way back, not just to the Constitutional Court but to the decisions that were made by the court in respect of the outcome of the different Patriotic Front conventions that took place and how they ended up favoring a particular candidate in fairly contradicting circumstances. So, it makes us want to unravel all matters that have either been determined in favor of President Lungu or are likely to be determined in favor of either the PF or President Lungu. We know that there is an important matter coming up before the Constitutional Court in terms of a ruling that is being expected from them. This sends a very worrying signal about what may be the outcome of that decision around his eligibility to stand in 2021.”
“It is completely startling, I never thought I would hear anything like this, to have somebody openly admit that they were aware of the outcome of the decision that was going to be made by a court in this country. It basically gives credence to all the suspicions people have had in this country about this administration.”
And CHipimo hoped that Zambians would rise and challenge the interference of the judiciary by State House.
“This is extremely troubling and my prayer is that Zambians will rise up on all these issues, this is a succession of scandals which are plaguing the Patriotic Front and we must be able to say, as individuals and every right thinking citizen of this country, enough is enough,” said Chipimo.