It has become very clear to everybody that the 2016 amended Constitution was done hurriedly and has a lot of lacunas, says Justice Minister Given Lubinda.
Lubinda however says the public should not blame his ministry for the lacunas because government was also under pressure from stakeholders who were calling for the adoption of the new Constitution without any delays.
Speaking in a transit interview to Rome for a Ministers of Justice conference, through Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Lubinda admitted that there were a number of gaps and articles that did not correspond well in the constitution and that he would soon issue a statement to address the matter.
“It was quiet clear to everybody, anyone who has cared to study the Constitution has come to the conclusion that our 2016 amendment of the Constitution was hurriedly done and I don’t think it’s time for us to apportion blame. I think it’s time for us to acknowledge the fact that this was an exercise that we carried out as a country. There were some people who were really agitative for the constitution to be adopted without amendments and others were even pushing that the amended constitution is being delayed. So as a country we went ahead and adopted that constitution but now, it has become clear that there are some articles in the constitution that don’t speak to each other and there are also gaps which lawyers refer to as lacunas in the constitution which require refinement,” said Lubinda.
“Already in February and March, I appealed to various stakeholders and Zambia to make submissions to the Ministry of Justice for us to start the process of refining the constitution. So I will be presenting a Ministerial statement to inform Parliament and the country on the status of the refinement process but it is true that we are making moves to refine the process and we have made tremendous progress but the details you have to wait until I present them to Parliament.”
Meanwhile, the minister said Zambians should not expect all prosecutions to produce convictions because the role of the Ministry of Justice was only to assist courts in reaching a fair and just decision.
Lubinda was reacting to criticism that the State had been losing a lot of cases through acquittals and dropping some through nolles.
“Mr Lubinda said it was not possible for the State to win all cases it presented before courts. He disclosed that state advocates mainly depend on investigations done by investigative wings of government in order to win cases. He said on average state advocates attend to 36 cases per month, a move he described as unbearable,” First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Ethiopia Inutu Mwanza, said.
She also stated that Lubinda further disclosed that government had decided to transfer prosecutors from the Drug Enforcement Commission and the police to National Prosecution Authority in accordance with the constitution.
“Mr Lubinda said government has now decided to move prosecutors from the DEC and the police and place them under National Prosecution Authority in accordance with the constitution. He disclosed that prosecutors at the Anti-Corruption Commission who have not yet been moved will also be moved to the National Prosecution Authority next year,” stated Mwanza.