Former ministers must do the right thing, pay back – Sumaili

Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili says Zambia is a country of laws and it will only be right for ministers who illegally drew salaries in 2016 pay them back.

And Sumaili has insisted that Zambia will not support homosexuality and gay rights because it goes against Christian values which the country stands on.

Meanwhile, Rev Sumaili says the application of the Public Order Act can be improved through the ongoing Constitution Amendment process, refuting claims that the PF is using the Act to persecute political opponents.

Speaking when she featured on Diamond TV’s Costa programme, Rev Sumaili urged former ministers to comply with the ConCourt ruling which ordered them to pay back the salaries which were illegally drawn when they remained in office after dissolution of parliament.

“One of the values that we promote is democracy and constitutionalism and under constitutionalism we are saying respect the law and therefore that is what has been ruled by the court and definitely we have to comply and I believe that the ministers involved will definitely make good. For now, it’s an administrative matter which will have to be handled meaning that maybe they have to be informed of how much they owe and how they will have to pay. Well the court has said so, we are a country of laws, we have to do the right thing, and there is no two ways around that,” Rev Sumaili said.

Justice Minister Given Lubinda, however, told Diamond TV that he would not pay back because doing so would be going against his rights.

And Rev Sumaili vowed that Zambia would not support homosexuality and gay rights because it went against the country’s Christian values.

“As Zambians, we have an identity, and our identity is that we are a Christian nation so that everyone has to come to that foundation. What does the Bible say, because for us, the Bible is the standard. And the Bible calls same sex marriage as an abomination and we have a cultural background and our culture does not accept that. So, our culture, our Christian values and also our laws cannot support that. So, we have no place at all and that’s why it is shocking that we can have a political party that supports that kind of situation. Zambians will not accept that because it’s not part of us. We shall protect our laws, as I have said, our stand is on the Bible; what does the Bible say, but also our constitution, what does our constitution say, law-abiding nation and we respect our traditional values and we are Christian’s, so those things have no place in our nation,” she said, adding that she would also not support the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes because of the high chances of the programme being abused by unscrupulous individuals,” Rev Sumaili said.

Meanwhile, Rev Sumaili said the application of the Public Order Act could be improved, refuting claims that the PF was using it as a tool to persecute political opponents.

“Obviously, we can improve on it. You know what, it will very unfair for me to comment on what you are saying because I have no truth (on the issue of Harry Kalaba being chased out of North-Western Province), I have not followed those things, but what I want to say is that, as a country, we need order. I think it’s very important that we maintain order, we maintain discipline and we maintain respect for each other, it’s very important. I do think that is correct. We are a multi-party democracy and we respect the rights of other religions; the rights of political parties; the rights of individuals…they are free to organize themselves. You know, this is why we are saying let’s come together, look at the Constitution, look at the Public Order Act so that we level the playing field,” said Rev Sumaili.

“Do you know that the UPND were actually dancing at the floor of the House to say ‘sign the Constitution, we want the Constitution’ and it was ascented to. But let me say this: there are issues that we need to deal with as a people? The opposition have been crying for the Public Order Act. The Public Order Act, which we have now, is from colonial times, it has never changed. And for your own information, the Public Order Act, for us to work in balance, needs to be looked at, needs to be changed. Previous presidents have come and they have not touched the Public Order Act. Look at the by-elections: are you happy with the way we are having them? Can’t we deal with them in the Constitution (Amendment process)? What about the electoral reforms? Are we happy with the electoral reforms? It’s from colonial times, why don’t we work on it, we can work on it. That’s why we have a Select Committee, which has been sitting and receiving submissions from the people so that if there are issues that we do not agree with or we think that they can be captured in a different way, they are supposed to come and submit to the Select Committee. Let’s not throw away the baby with the bath water. I am sure, as a people, we can work at this Constitution.”

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