Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says those who want to impeach President Edgar Lungu might be ‘crossing the line’.

Meanwhile, Kampyongo says some people have been using his name and Lands Minister Jean Kapata, among other senior government officials, when smuggling Mukula.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Kampyongo wondered in whose interest it would be if President Lungu was impeached.

“There must be firm grounds that should require someone to invoke that Constitutional provision. It’s not just someone waking [up] and saying ‘oh, today I want to have the President impeached’. Mind you, and I know that, of course, in other countries this could be looked like it’s normal. But we must distinguish, in other jurisdictions, the authority of the President is drawn from these institutions like the legislature, in other countries even the SADC region,” Kampyongo said.

“The legislature elects who to become president and, therefore, the legislature can call at any time because that is where the mandate is drawn from. But here, the mandate is drawn directly from the people and as much as we are a representative democracy, all of us, the President is elected by the people. The representatives in this case who are the MPs are equally elected by the people. We all know that there will be elections in 2021. But now you want to impeach the President, so what? And in whose interest anyway? It’s not scaring people, but they should know that those offices have got laws. I am just reminding the people that in case you have forgotten that you might be crossing the line. And these same laws that protect these offices might face you so that is not scaring, it’s just cautioning.”

Kampyongo, however, said PF members of parliament were eager to debate the impeachment motion because they had the numbers.

“The Deputy Speaker made a ruling on that matter and we shall allow Parliament to deal with that issue. But I want to assure the people of Zambia that their elected leader is still in charge of this country. And so that motion we are talking about, as much as it is before Parliament, whether Parliament decides to bring it on the floor of the House, we are very geared because that is why we have formed government because we have [the] necessary numbers. And so, the numbers that we have obviously cannot permit anything of that nature to take place in Parliament. But our concern is that the signals that we are sending as baseless as it could be…how unfortunate that we, I am constraining myself to discuss too much because I know the procedure of how we conduct business in Parliament,” Kampyongo said.

Meanwhile, when asked why there were some lapses on law enforcement with regard to smuggling of Mukula logs, Kampyongo said some smugglers were using Ministers’ names when moving the logs.

“I am not shy to say, we had to discipline some of our own officers because the number of cases, and I think if we had to take stock and to get statistics, statistics will be availed to you. But like I was saying, and I am not shy to tell you that we had to even go beyond and follow some of our own law enforcement officers who were being cited to be part of these cartels. Even when we said stop this and allow ZAFFICO to be the only ones to do the movement, others still wanted to find a loop hole. And in doing so, they would use all means by even using other people’s names. People would use other people’s names and it was interesting. You know criminal minds can be very clever. If they find a law enforcement [officer] and say ‘no, what we are carrying here is for the Minister of Lands’ even when they know that they are lying, they would expect to get away with that,” he said.

He said his name was also mischievously mentioned as being part of the illegal trade.

“And documentation was being manufactured to justify some of these movements to some points and where there was collusion. Some people are mischievously using some other people’s names. My name was, of course, mischievously mentioned by some character. We have had vast characters in North-Western Province who have been using people’s names and say no ‘this consignment is for ABCD’ and through that way…had to find out from me and say ‘Honourable Kampyongo, are you aware about this?’,” said Kampyongo.

“And if we are to do anything with this Mukula, let it be locally done, value addition. Why should we export the logs and [yet] we can put up industries here to process these logs and create jobs for our own youths, for our own citizens. So that is when a decision was made to say ‘let’s put a stop until we take stock of what has transpired’ and then we make sure that going forward, these harvests of these natural resources must be structured in the manner that will see local citizens benefit. That is when we saw and operation by the defensive agencies teaming up and deployed in all these areas to go and curtail this illegality.”