Civil rights activist Brebner Changala says President Edgar Lungu had no authourity to function as a Head of State at the time of signing the sovereign guarantee loan for ZESCO because he had not yet been sworn-in.
Speaking to News Diggers! in an interview, Changala said the STAG scandal has raised more questions than the answers that the state has so far provided.
And Changa also urged Zambians not to believe justifications coming from State House Spokesperson Amos Chanda over the scandal
“The $500 million [sovereign guarantee] for Zesco which was signed by the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu raises more questions than the answers they have provided. The truth is that on the 11th of August, 2016, Zambia went to an election to elect a President. what it means is that President Egdar Lungu’s mandate had elapsed, thereafter there was a petition that was placed in Court. So he had no authority to function as a Head of State, there about on the 9th of September, he signed this sovereign guarantee. I don’t know in what capacity because he was no longer the President of the Republic of Zambia. Then on the 13th of September, he was sworn in as the elected President. Now, what was the need of swearing in the President on the 13th of September? It was for him to assume the executive powers, because between 11th August to 13th September, 2016, he didn’t have those executive powers. So by him signing this $500 million on behalf of Zesco and with a company that is managed by his close associates on independence avenue, I think there is a breach or a felony that was committed,” Changala said.
Changala called upon the legal fraternity to take interest in the matter and interpret it for Zambians.
“My appeal is to legal minds is that they should interpret these three dates. The 11th of August, which is the day of elections, the President seized to be the Head of State. On the 9th of September, 2016, the President while there was a petition somewhere in the Concourt, he was performing executive functions elsewhere, was that correct? I don’t think so, it’s for that same reason that on the 13th of September, 2016, he was to be sworn in so that he assumes fresh mandate as an executive President. So any other stories that will come that are not backed by law must be ignored. This issue of $500 million signed by the President, I think and I believe very strongly that it could be illegal. Forget about him having no cabinet, he had no cabinet and we had no President. two things, we had no cabinet, we had no President. Unless anything else is put to the contrary and very convincingly to the contrary, then we can proceed otherwise,” he said.
He wondered why the Head of State was in such a hurry to sign the loan when it was not even an emergency.
“The story of Mr Amos Chanda must be discarded and probably with the content that it deserves. If this was an emergency for sure and we needed this money, these guys never brought in this money but the country survived up to years, last month April was when it was cancelled. Now if this was a favour being done to a friend of the system, a friend of the President and that is also an issue that must be taken care of by the law. I am appealing to this moribund Anti-corruption Commission, why is it not acting in matters of this nature and it’s busy following small issues. The big fish where they can really teach the Zambian people a lesson are there. On the ACC, actually the back stops at State House. There is a lot that we might not know.”
“This could be a tip of an iceberg. What else did they sign during that period? We have functioned without that $500 million, how did Zesco manage? And they are calling it an emergency, they must explain that emergency. In view of the $500 million from STAG, what did they do for us to pull through up to 2018 when they decided to cancel it. They must tell us where the bridging finance came in to replace he STAG deal, they must explain to us if they had signed another one when these guys were delaying in brining the money. This must be disclosed fully to the people of Zambia, there is a smoking gun here. It must not just be let to die a natural death,” said Changala.