A consortium of Civil Society Organizations have condemned Kabwe central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube’s attacks on Law Association of Zambia president Eddie Mwitwa and John Sangwa SC saying they are baseless.
On Wednesday, Ngulube alleged that Mwitwa had been paid by a named organization to fight and embarrass government and he must therefore be impeached.
Ngulube also asked Sangwa SC to immediately recuse himself from the petition before the Constitutional Court regarding Bill 10 or be stripped of his status as State Counsel so that he could not use it to fight personal battles against President Edgar Lungu.
I would like to support the calls of State Counsel Sakwiba Sikota and other learned State Counsel who have come out in the open and said they would like us to impeach the LAZ president Mr Eddie Mwitwa for dragging the name of the association into serious disrepute and also for being used to fight political battles on behalf of a named opposition political party, the United Party for National Development. It is very clear that Mr Mwitwa, whose term of office is coming to an end would like to leave a trail of destruction on behalf of the Law Association of Zambia. We therefore want to urge the general membership of the Law Association of Zambia to rise and remove Mr Eddie Mwitwa from office,” said Ngulube.
“We are also aware that Mr Mwitwa does not mean well for our association. Just like state counsel John Sangwa is State Counsel, he is expected as State Counsel to guide the state whenever he feels there is something that the state is not doing correctly. He is not supposed to use his rank as State Counsel to fight government or to fight the state. We therefore call upon the President to strip him off the status and rank of State Counsel and let him go and continue fighting on his own without hiding under the umbrella of State Counsel. We therefore demand that Mr John Sangwa should immediately recuse himself from the court proceedings or if he fails, we will petition the President to remove his rank as State Counsel so that he does not use his position and status in the legal fraternity to fight his personal battles against the President.”
But in a joint statement by ActionAid Zambia, Alliance for Community Action, Caritas Zambia, Centre for Trade Policy and Development, Chapter One Foundation, CiSCA and Transparency International of Zambia, the CSOs stated that the trend of threatening impeachment of sitting LAZ presidents for following their statutory mandate was regrettable.
“We the undersigned Civil Society Organizations strongly condemn the spurious attack by Patriotic Front Member of Parliament Mr Tutwa Ngulube on the Law Association of Zambia president Mr Eddie Mwitwa and the lawyer representing LAZ in the case challenging the proposed enactment of the constitution Amendment Bill No 10 of 2019.Mr John Sangwa SC. LAZ has a statutory mandate under section 4 of the LAZ Act to promote and defend constitutionalism and the rule of law. And indeed any qualified lawyer in Zambia and has taken an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. Subsequently, the suggestion that the petition has been filed because Mr Mwitwa and Mr Sangwa SC support UPND has no basis,” read the statement.
“Equally unfortunate are the statements made by Honourable Ngulube to move a motion to have the LAZ president impeached and that Mr Sangwa SC’s rank and status as a State Counsel stripped for taking the case to the Constitution Court. We are of the view that if Mr Ngulube feels strongly about the case challenging the Constitution amendment bill,then the appropriate channel to address his grievances with it are the courts of law. The trend by ruling party MPs to threaten impeachment of sitting LAZ presidents whenever they follow their statutory mandate to defend the constitution and the rule of law is regrettable. It shows that such MPs are not prepared to respect the institutions that serve the wider nation interest and are not prepared to defend their agreement without resorting to measures that are inimical to freedom of expression and principles of democracy.”
And the CSOs promised to join the case in defence of the Constitution.
“We have perused through the 101 paged petition submitted to the Constitution Court by Mr Sangwa SC’s law firm, and we are of the view that the case presented has merit. We therefore intend to join the case in defence of the constitution and on solidarity with LAZ,” read the statement.