Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa has challenged Kabwe Central PF member of parliament Tutwa Ngulube to substantiate allegations that the former has been paid by the opposition UPND to fight government in a campaign to withdraw the Constitution Amendment Bill No.10.
And Mwitwa says although the Association attended the National Dialogue Forum (NDF), its recommendations were not heard, insisting that the move to take the matter to court is not a publicity stunt.
On Wednesday, Ngulube charged that Mwitwa was a paid UPND lawyer, just like John Sangwa SC, who has been hired to represent LAZ, and that the two were fighting a political battle on behalf of the opposition party.
He went further to call for other LAZ members to join him an agenda to impeach Mwitwa on grounds that he had brought the name of the Association into disrepute.
But in an interview, Mwitwa revealed that he was in the process of instructing his lawyers to write a demand letter to Ngulube over his “false and malicious allegations”.
“I totally refute whatever Honorable Ngulube is saying and in relation to allegations that I have been paid, please, if you do get the chance to speak with him, ask him to name who has paid me; how much I was paid; when I was paid and also I challenge him to come out in the public with those figures and details. Otherwise, I reserve my right to take legal action against him! I am in the process of instructing my lawyers to write a letter of demand to him asking him to either retract that particular allegation or to substantiate it. He is called ‘honorable’ because he is a member of parliament and when you call someone ‘honorable,’ you expect that what they are saying has truth in it and it’s honourable,” Mwitwa said.
He explained that the decision to take the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill 10 to the Constitutional Court was a decision of the LAZ Council, not his personal decision.
“There is nothing true in whatever Mr Ngulube is saying. He is misrepresenting the facts, but thankfully, the facts are in the public domain. On the 15th of July, there was a press statement that was issued by the council of the Law Association of Zambia, which was signed by the honorary secretary, Mr Mwenya Mukupa, which indicated that the council had met on the 13th of July and decided that it was going to take the issue of the Constitution Amendment Bill to the Constitutional Court. That statement is very clear! It did not say Eddie Mwitwa decided to take the matter to court and the council consists of 16 people elected by the membership of the Law Association of Zambia,” he explained.
And Mwitwa, reacting to remarks by Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya, who wondered why LAZ had taken the matter of the Constitutional Amendment Bill to court when the association was part of the NDF gathering, saying LAZ was not heard during the National Dialogue Forum.
“We went there as LAZ to the National Dialogue Forum with the objective of going there to provide a voice of reason, a voice of objectivity and, unfortunately, we were not heard to the extent that we desired to be heard and there is nothing that was in that NDF Act that said we cannot do what we are doing. So, we are simply doing what our statutory objectives mandate us to do,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Mwitwa said the move to take the matter of bill 10 to the ConCourt was not a publicity stunt but an effort to protect the Republican Constitution.
“Again, that is not our intention. Our intention is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution because we think that what is being done or about to be done to the Constitution is not protecting it; does not stand within the values of the Constitution. As we have set out in the petition, I cannot go into the merits of the Court case because it is a matter that is now before the courts and we trust that those that have been sued, if they are interested, will defend themselves; if they are not, they will let the Court decide the issue. So, it’s not a publicity stunt. I am one that does not actually like to be in the limelight; if I had my way, I would live a quiet life as the Bible instructs, so it’s not a publicity stunt,” explained Mwitwa.