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It’s time for UPND to rule – MweetwaBy Sipilisiwe Ncube on 19 Apr 2018
UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says time has come for the Patriotic Front to take leave and allow the UPND to restore the rule of law in Zambia.
And Mweetwa, who is also Choma UPND member of parliament, says Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo should restrict himself to understanding the application of the Public Order Act and the Penal Code instead of discussing the impeachment motion.
On Sunday, Kampyongo said that those who wanted to impeach President Edgar Lungu might be crossing the line.
“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 of 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 said.
Commenting on Kampyongo’s remarks in an interview, Mweetwa said it was time to give the UPND an opportunity to restore the rule of law in Zambia.
“Under PF, the channels of governance have been undermined. Power no longer resides in the institutions of the state; it now resides in the hands of the few individuals who have held the state hostage. I think time has come for them to rest, and give others an opportunity, give the UPND an opportunity so that we can restore the rule of law in this country to achieve Zambia’s pride. Even PF members and youths are not happy with what is going on because there is nothing left for them,” Mweetwa said.
And Mweetwa advised to leave constitutional matters to the Ministry of Justice as it was the competent authority to comment on it.
“We are actually shocked to hear statements of that nature from the Ministry of Home Affairs, because being the ministry in charge of law enforcement of law and order. Ordinarily, it is expected that the Ministry of Home Affairs understands the law, which they seek to implement. So when the minister says that those filing the impeachment motion might be crossing the line, we do not understand what line he is referring to, let him explain if there is a certain line, let him show to the people of Zambia that line and what role was used in coming about that line, which he says should not be crossed because in the laws of Zambia, in the Constitution, there is a provision for members of parliament to move the motion of impeachment. And this has not happened for the first time, because the only thing that should not be traversed is the law itself,” Mweetwa said.
He said the impeachment motion was not in the ambit of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“And in any event, you have an impeachment motion, those who move the impeachment motion, if what they are doing is not legally tenable, then that is an issue of debate on the floor of the House and the courts. It doesn’t come anywhere near the ambit of the Minister of Home Affairs. In fact, the whole issue of impeachment for us, he thinks he is the only person who is competent to talk about it? It is the Minister of Justice because this is a constitutional matter, and we can only expect to hear from the Minister of Justice, or the Attorney General alongside those lines, not the Minister of Home Affairs,” said Mweetwa.
“The Minister of Home Affairs should be talking about the Public Order Act. He should restrict himself to Public Order Act and the Penal Code Cap 87 of the laws of Zambia, which creates and defines crimes and also sets out the penalties. So these two, the Penal Code and the Public Order Act are the province within which we expect the Minister of Home Affairs should [spend] most of his time in trying to understand the offences under those two pieces of legislation. The Constitution is outside his province of operation by and large, especially the question of impeachment.”
About Sipilisiwe Ncube
Sipilisiwe Ncube is a Zambian journalist with a background in radio news.
Email: sipilisiwe [at] diggers [dot] news
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