A Consortium of Civil Society Organisations has asked Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini to table the impeachment motion in the next sitting of Parliament to clear President Edgar Lungu’s name.

On Thursday, May 24, 2018 the CSOs petitioned Speaker Matibini to allow members of parliament debate the impeachment motion in order to clear the negative perception about President Lungu’s administration.

At a media briefing in Lusaka, Tuesday, Zitukule Consortium executive director Nicolas Phiri said Speaker Matibini was holding Zambians hostage due to the mere fact that the constitution did not compel him to table the impeachment motion on a specific day, leaving him to do as he wished.

“We have noted with concern that while the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, as chairperson of the proceedings on the day that the impeachment motion was submitted did clearly state that the motion for impeachment was rightly before the House, she however pointed out that there was no law or regulation that compels the Speaker to table the motion for debate on that day or indeed any other day. Simplicitly, this ruling meant that the tabling of the motion was left to the discretion of the Speaker and would therefore not see the light of day if the hourable Speaker so wished,” Phiri explained.

“If this is the case, it means therefore that through the constitution which is the express will of the collective people of Zambia, we have been held hostage by an individual in the person of the Speaker. In as far as we are concerned, the contents of the impeachment motion contain issues of great concern to the public and these issues are in national interest. The impeachment motion in itself implies that the Republican President who took an oath to defend the Constitution is being accused of having breached that Constitution. Honestly, this is not a light matter, it is not a matter of partisan politics. It is in our view therefore that expeditious tabling of the impeachment motion from today is good for the petitioners and to the citizens. We say so because The President will be accorded an opportunity to exonerate himself from these accusations, and of course many other accusations that are dominating public space.”

Phiri emphasised that the impeachment motion needed to be tabled so that the President could clear his name.

“The nation might agree that from the time President Lungu came into power, his leadership has been characterized by numerous accusations and none of those have been put to bed or to rest expeditiously. Then secondly, we have exercised our constitutional rights as petitioners just as provided for by the constitution while proving the legitimacy from the serious and grave accusations contained in the impeachment motion. Thirdly, we the citizens who put the leaders in power would be given an opportunity to see how both the petitioners and the petitioned will execute and account themselves to these matters of national interest,” Phiri said.

“We the 806 citizens of Zambia have called upon the Honourable Speaker to order and direct that the impeachment motion be tabled at the next sitting of parliament, scheduled to commence in June at least not later than Wednesday of the first week, following the commencement of the third session. Further, in view of the gravity of the impeachment motion and public sentiments, we have heard especially from those in government and for the sake of implementing democracy, we have called upon the Speaker to order and directed that the vote for the adoption of the impeachment motion be taken in line with article 108 sub article three, following the debate by way of a secret ballot in a similar manner to the vote taken pursuant to article 108 of the constitution.”

He said the consortium had further advised against the temptation of freezing the impeachment motion on the basis of few issues which were still in court.

“We are aware that some of the matters contained in the impeachment motion are under administration in the courts of law. However, we are also aware that some matters contained in the impeachment motion are not subject of adjudication at present. In this regard, we wish to advise against the temptation to freeze the impeachment motion on the basis of few issues which have been before the courts of law for more than two years now. However, if it is not possible to proceed with the motion in the current state and because some of the issues contained there are before the courts of law, we call upon the petitioners to consider amending the impeachment motion and resubmit it so that this accusation against the Head of State can be put to rest once for all. If this happens, we will again petition the Speaker, that the impeachment motion should be heard and sort of expeditious,” said Phiri.