Vice-President Inonge Wina says President Edgar Lungu did not threaten Constitutional judges but was merely counselling members of the Judiciary.
Responding to a question from Chikankata UPND member of Parliament Kabwe Mwiinga who wanted to know if President Lungu interfered with the Judiciary when he threatened to bring chaos in the country if he was disqualified from elections in 2021, Wina said the President was within his jurisdiction when he made the pronouncement because he was the CEO of the entire country.
“Mr Speaker, the honourable Member should be aware that the President of this country is the Chief Executive for the whole country and therefore, he has full responsibility of what goes on in the country. If a war breaks out in Zambia, we will hold the President accountable. This country enjoys Parliamentary democracy where we have separation of powers. We have the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive but at the end of the day, when there is friction, when there are conflicts in the country, the back stops at the President. The President was just cautioning one arm of government that what we have seen happening in another country must not happen in our own country,” Wina said.
Wina agreed with President Lungu that it was wrong for Zambians to copy and paste what they saw and heard happening in other countries.
“Zambians have got a habit of copying and pasting whatever they hear in other countries. I think we need to come up with some original thinking about how we want our own country to run. What kind of laws should govern us so that we can continue to have prosperity for our people and also increase the interactive mechanisms about our people so that we produce an inclusive government. So the President was not warning the Judges, he was merely counseling them so that we understand what is happening in other countries and what can happen to us. So Mr Speaker, the question that the honourable member asked is not really directed at the President ordering the Judiciary, he was merely counseling them, I thank you Sir,” Wina said.
However, when Kabompo UPND member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma rose on follow up question and pressured Wina to explain why there should be chaos in Zambia if President Lungu did not stand, Wina declined to an answer, saying that she was not sure of the words which the President used.
“This is a follow up question on the one from the honourable member for Chikankata. The President in Solwezi has issued a categorical warning to the judiciary namely ‘if he is prevented by any chance from standing in 2021 by the Judiciary, there will be mayhem and chaos in this country’, he said that, the President is on record as having said that. Now my question is, honestly why should there be any chaos in Zambia if one individual does not stand? Why should there be any chaos Vice-President?” asked Lufuma.
And Wina responded by saying: “Mr Speaker, this morning I rushed to Parliament so I did not have the privilege to read the Newspapers to hear whether the President actually pronounced those words or not. So I can not give a substantive answer to that question.”