Rainbow party General Secretary Wynter Kabimba says the entire 2016 amended Constitution is a “damn useless thing” and not just a matter of some lacunas as Justice Minister Given Lubinda is describing it.
And kabimba says the provision of the Constitution that guarantees immunity for a sitting President from prosecution must be removed because it is proving to be a big problem for the country.
Speaking when he featured on Diamond Television’s Costa show on Sunday evening, Kabimba said the Patriotic Front had manipulated the Constitution amendment act to enable President Edgar Lungu become eligible for a third term in the 2021 elections.
“I have said it from day one when Constitution amendment number two of 2016 was signed that this is an obnoxious piece of legislation, it’s a disaster but nobody believed me. The civil society was against me and they made it a big propaganda programme against me that I was sitting on the Constitution and didn’t want to deliver a good Constitution to the Zambian people. In fact, even after Constitution amendment number 2 of 2016 was assented to by Edgar Lungu, people were still screaming to the high heavens that ‘we have been given the best Constitution’ but now to my amazement, who is saying that this is a bad Constitution? Edgar Lungu’s Minister of Justice, he says ‘there are a lot of lacunas in this Constitution’. There are no lacunas bwana, the whole damn thing is useless,” Kabimba said.
“If you look at what is in the Constitution amendment two of 2016 and what is in the draft Constitution, they are two different documents. So what the PF did under Edgar Lungu was to formulate there own Constitution in which one of the major things they wanted to do was to give Edgar a third term, that was the major objective.”
And Kabimba said the clause in the Constitution that gives a sitting President immunity from being prosecuted even when they are guilty must be removed to allow the law take its course against them.
“The immunity which the President is vested with under the Constitution is not immunity against investigation, it is immunity against prosecution, that is the immunity which the President enjoys. So even if the President is enjoying that immunity, he can still be investigated and for us as Rainbow party, that provision in the Constitution which guarantees a sitting President immunity from prosecution must be removed. I would be glad to see a situation that is going on in Israel not to be happening in Zambia, as you saw Benjamin Netanyahu as of yesterday, he was being interviewed by the police. So if we have to make it as a country, we must be courageous enough to say ‘this has not worked’ we must also accept that one of the problems that we have had in this country is this nonsense of the immunity granted on the President,” Kabimba said.
He said ratifications of presidential appointments were a mockery.
“The other problem is the issue of the President appointing everybody. Look at south Africa, to become a judge in that country you are not appointed by the President, they actually advertise in the press and when people are selected, they are interviewed by a panel and you get your appointment from there. That is why you see that the judiciary in South Africa is so strong. It can render a judgment against Jacob Zumba as sitting President. So here is a country just in a neighbourhood from which we can learn how to strengthen institutions,” Kabimba said.
“But if you look at the current Constitution on ratification, it makes ratification a mockery because it says if the President appoints someone to be Head of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the name goes to Parliament the first time and Parliament says ‘no’, it goes the second and third time and Parliament still says ‘no’, that appointment will still stand. So what ratification is there? Constitution amendment 12 of 2016 has made the whole process of amendment a mockery. Secondly, I have never heard since the ratification article was introduced anybody who has been appointed by the President and has never been ratified. Is that a coincidence or does that mean the President always appoints the right people? No! It just means that our institutions are still very weak and this is all because of patronage on the part of those that want to eat with the President.”