Justice Minister Given Lubinda says he is aware that people do not appreciate decisions made by parliament because the House is full of PF.

And Lubinda says if the Law Association of Zambia needs protection against attacks, it will take a complaint to his office.

Featuring on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview yesterday, Lubinda said the issue of whether or not to leave the ICC could not be tabled in Parliament because it was going to be misunderstood bearing in mind the House was full of PF members.

“You have asked me ‘why didn’t you go to Parliament?’ you have heard what has been said about Parliament, that Parliament is full of PF. So if we went to Parliament and debated this matter, you yourself would come on this programme and say ‘but you knew that Parliament is PF’. The decision [made by Parliament] would be valid but the decision is bound to be misunderstood because the majority in Parliament are members of the ruling party and the ruling party, on this matter, would like to remain neutral. At least publicly, we would not like to declare where we stand,” Lubinda said.

In this three-minute audio, Lubinda also says government is very surprised that the very people who always ask government to be consultative were in the forefront criticizing its decision to consult on whether or not to leave the ICC.

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Meanwhile, Lubinda also insisted that spending K2 million on consultations was not a waste of money.

“The views of the Zambian people are worth much more than K2 million. How much do you think a Referendum will cost? How much did the elections cost? The K2 million is a small little fraction of the cost of running a Referendum. Running a Referendum will cost us more than K20 billion. Then you are talking about K2 million. Is there any comparison?” Lubinda asked.

He also said he was impressed by the turnout in the consultation process so far.

“In Mumbwa alone, 163 people had submitted. In Kabwe, I watched a clip, Minister for Central Province was opening the hearing and the hall was full, in Ndola, they had to extend the hearing beyond 18:00 hours. In Chirundu, instead of hearing only on one day they had to hear on two days. In Chilanga, the response was overwhelming, where are those people coming from? Why do we think that because we in Lusaka, educated people, civil society leaders, church leaders, we are the only ones who know, the other ones don’t know? That is not fair. There are people out there who also read, they may not have jobs but they know about the ICC. I am very happy with the response. If 200 people in Mumbwa can go and make submissions, that’s very good,” he said.

Lubinda added that after receiving submissions from the 30 districts, his ministry would have a national symposium on 11th and 12th of April after which a report would be produced and presented to Cabinet.

And Lubinda said if LAZ needed his protection from attacks, it would take a complaint to his ministry.

“It is not that I am not interested. There have been some people who have been attacking the judiciary, what have I said? I have said ‘if you have any problem with any member of the judiciary, please don’t castigate them in the press because they can’t protect themselves. Go and present the matter to the judicial complaints authority’. For LAZ, a friend of mine, Bradford Machila, himself a member of the Law Association of Zambia, a good friend of mine, he calls a publication to say ‘Lubinda even if he is not a lawyer, he must protect the Law Association of Zambia’. And my response was ‘protect LAZ from what? And from who? What is the issue? I don’t know the issue’,” said Lubinda.

“If the Law Association of Zambia come to me and they tell me ‘we are being attacked by this particular group for these reasons, yes, it is my duty. Now if an individual says the president of the Law Association of Zambia is partisan, what has that got to do with me? It has nothing to do with me.”

Meanwhile, presenter Grevazio Zulu, who clearly did not do enough research, asked Lubinda to state whether the proposal “on the floor of the House being considered to replace the LAZ act” was not an indication that government was fighting LAZ.

On March 20, 2017, Kasama PF member of parliament Kelvin Sampa advertised a Law of Societies Bill proposal in the Zambia Daily Mail, seeking to introduce a Bill to repeal Cap 31 of the Republican Constitution which creates LAZ.

But Zulu alleged that the Bill was already before Parliament, to which Lubinda responded; “There is no such bill that is active at Parliament. I am not aware of any member of the PF who has proposed such a bill but that doesn’t stop anyone from doing it. Any member of parliament is at liberty to present the bill to parliament but as I speak to you today, when we adjourned Parliament on Tuesday, no bill called the Law Association on Zambia Bill was presented.”

In this eight-minute audio, Lubinda claims he is not aware of any moves to repeal LAZ and also explains that government’s relationship with LAZ is cordial.

He also says the party’s position on LAZ is not government’s position on the association

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