UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has already set precedent that court processes cannot stop him from tabling a motion on the floor of the House.
Addressing journalists at the party’s secretariat, Thursday, Hichilema said he was therefore eager to see how Dr Matibini would handle the impeachment motion now that some Lusaka residents were seeking judicial review in the High Court.
“Stop abusing the law because it will be very difficult to run this country. Mr Lungu is the one making it difficult for the country to be governed, not anybody else, not us, by his own conduct. These citizens of Lusaka, they could be entitled to do that but this is a test on the people of Zambia. You are aware that the Speaker of the National Assembly allowed a motion to remove Rupiah Banda’s immunity when there was a court matter where Rupiah Banda challenged the removal of his immunity. PF dominated Parliament, under Matibini as Speaker and the Speaker allowed the motion to remove his immunity and the immunity was removed. We shall see how the Speaker will react on this one,” HH said.
“If it matters, I can give another example, Keith Mukata. After he was sentenced, he appealed to the Court of Appeal but this Speaker proceeded to declare the seta vacant when he knew that there was an appeal. It is not even two months ago. So this is a test on the Speaker. How is he going to entertain this abuse of institutions by the PF when he has clearly created precedence by allowing the motion to remove Rupiah Banda’s immunity when there was a court matter? And declaring the Chilanga seat vacant when there was an appeal by Keith Mukata? Let’s see how the Speaker will deal with this matter. If the Speaker respects the abuse, allows the abuse going on, then he was wrong to declare the Chilanga seat vacant and to allow the immunity debate to continue.”
Hichilema noted that the PF had created a crisis in all the arms of government.
“You see the crisis which the PF has created? crisis in the Constitutional Court, crisis in Parliament, crisis in the economy, crisis everywhere. And that’s why, to be honest, Mr Lungu has just failed to govern. He took over a role that is too big for his capacity. He thought it was a joke like many of the jokes he has been involved in. This is not a joke, he is setting a very dangerous path for the country to walk on. He wants to destroy the judiciary, he wants to destroy the legislature, the executive he has already destroyed through corruption so now, the remaining arms of government, he is destroying. How will the country function? Jungle law is about to set in, we Zambians must say no to jungle law in our country,” he said.
And Hichilema insisted that if the Constitutional Court reopened the former ministers’ case, they would also be reopening the Presidential Petition.
“Let me remind the people of Zambia that there is always an opportunity in everything. PF delaying our impeachment motion, PF abusing the court process gives Zambians another opportunity because if the Constitutional Court continues to entertain, for example the ministers continuing to serve till elections, upon which we took the matter to court and we won on the 6th of August 2016 that Cabinet was wrongly performing those functions following the dissolution of parliament, the PF appealed, within the Constitutional Court, which is unprocedural. Again, the Constitutional Court, which in my view should not have entertained that but they entertained it and ruled the same way they ruled on August 6, 2016. This time they [PF] have filed a second irregular appeal and it has been entertained by the Constitutional Court. Here is where an opportunity for the people of Zambia is, if the Constitutional Court can entertain the PF appeals yet the Constitutional Court is said to be the court of origination and finality, then, I put it to the people of Zambia that we will ask our lawyers, my colleagues and I here will ask our lawyers to file a motion to reopen our presidential petition, how about that?” asked Hichilema.
“Let’s be fair and if thats how they want to abuse the processes, we then are justified and we will discuss amongst ourselves as UPND and I am sure we will make a decision that we will now file a motion in the Constitutional Court to reopen our presidential petition. I think therein lies an opportunity which they have created for every citizen to see. If they don’t entertain, reopen our petition, why should they be reopening the motion on the ministers serving beyond the dissolution of Parliament? This is what happens, when you are a crook, you think you are smart when actually you are not smart, you are creating new cracks. These are the new cracks that they are creating by abusing our courts and parliament, they are now saying to all of us, you can go back to court, we want our petition to be heard.”