PF media director Sunday Chanda has castigated civil rights activist Brebner Changala for alleging that President Edgar Lungu has protected arrested Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela because he is a member of his corruption syndicate.
On Monday, Changala charged that President Lungu could not fire Chitotela from his ministerial position because he was also a beneficiary of the same corruption the beleaguered minister had been accused of, and that being a ‘grand master of corruption,’ the President could not afford to lose one of his own.
But reacting to Changala’s sentiments in a statement sent to News Diggers! Chanda accused Changala of being ignorant of the Zambian laws.
“We can now confirm that Brebner Changala is an expired civil rights activist who is clearly playing to the gallery at the expense of upholding the rights of an accused person under Part III, Article 18 of the Constitution of Zambia, which provides for the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by the courts. As far as we know, Changala is not a court of law much as he desires to convict and discharge whosoever he wishes. It’s fashionable for politically-damaged goods like him to accuse Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of corruption because all his allies in the opposition are singing from that same hymn book!” Chanda charged.
“My intention in this response is not to demean Mr Changala as he always alleges, but to render a free law lecture on the law of suspending persons who are facing corruption charges since he appears to be in dire want of legal counsel to give him sound advice before he could open his mouth to the public. I am giving this advice to Mr Changala because I don’t like him parading himself on the lines that in ways that go to extremely embarrass the man. Maurice Switzer once said, ‘it is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.’ By now, Mr Changala should appreciate that the man running this country is an accomplished legal advocate who reflects on the legal implications of the decisions he makes.”
Chanda, insisted that President Lungu was acting within the law by not firing Chitotela when he was still serving as Minister.
“President Lungu is alive to the provision of Section 47(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act No. 3 of 2012 which reads: ‘47. (1) Subject to the applicable legal and administrative procedures relating to the right to justice and a fair hearing applicable to public officers under their conditions of service, a public officer who is charged with corruption shall be suspended, at half pay, with effect from the date of the charge.’ For Mr. Changala to allege that President Lungu is a suspect, a friend and accomplice of criminal and corrupt elements is not only absurd, but shows the greatest ignorance of the existing law. However, Mr Changala needs to be lectured that Section 47(1) is not a stand-alone provision to determine whether it is applicable to ministers, but is subject to many other provisions within the Act itself and the Constitution as a Supreme law,” stated Chanda.
“As an expired civil rights activist, let’s draw Mr Changala to Section 47(4) of the ACC Act which reads: ‘47(4) This section does not apply with respect to an office in respect of which the Constitution limits or provides for the grounds upon which a holder of the office may be removed or the circumstances in which the office shall be vacate.’ To make it simple for Mr Changala, this Section does not apply to certain offices on three grounds: 1. Where the Constitution limits removal of a holder from office; 2. Where the Constitution provides for grounds upon which office holder may be removed; 3. Constitution provides for circumstances under which the office shall be vacated. Without doubt, Mr Changala must know that the Constitution of Zambia, in Article 116(3), provides circumstances under which the [Minister’s] office shall be vacated.’ In short, Section 47 of the ACC Act cannot apply to a Minister, who is serving in government. We, therefore, advise Mr Changala to leave the stage while a few are still clapping for him. He’s better off producing chalk!”