JUSTICE Minister Given Lubinda has dared those claiming that he has breached the Constitution by gazetting amendments to Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 to sue him.
Reacting to Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu’s allegations that the minister’s move was contemptuous and illegal, Lubinda said Mwiimbu’s argument amounted to foolishness.
He said there was no law stopping anybody gazetting their intended amendment.
“All that is just a bluff as you are well aware and as all enlightened citizens are aware, the absence of a law to govern any practice does not make that practice an illegality. The fact that there is no provision for a person to gazette does not make a gazetion an illegality. When a person has committed an offence, the offence is against a provided law. You can’t say I found you sitting on the walls, and because there is no law that allows you to sit, you have committed an offence, that is foolishness. You will say to a person that I have found you sitting on a wall and there is a law against sitting on a wall. You don’t break a non existent law, how do you break it?” Lubinda wondered, in an interview.
“So, if he is saying that there is no provision for anyone to gazette their intended amendment but is there a law that stops one from gazetting their intended amendment? If there is no law stopping somebody gazetting their intended amendment, then there is no law that they have breached, it is as simple as that. You don’t have to be a lawyer to know that, do you? No, you don’t have to be a lawyer to know that you cannot break a law that is not in existence. If there is no law that stops me from wearing trousers which is one [leg] long and one shot and you find me in a trouser with one long and one shot, would you say I have broken the law? No! Until there is a law that stops you, you can’t break it.”
He said Mwiimbu was a desperate hypocrite as he did not point at any standing order which stopped anyone from gazetting an amendment.
“You can see how desperate Jack Mwiimbu and his friends are, he did not point at any standing order which stops any one from gazetting the amendment. Further, I want to make it clear for the sake of citizens that in my long years in Parliament I have known the fact that any document that is laid on the table of Parliament is public, unless Parliament is sitting in camera. Tell me if Zambians did not hear on the 17th of March, did Zambians not hear that we are going to move these amendments? I made it public, it was not a secret, it has never been a secret! I announced to the Zambian people through Parliament that these amendments I am going to move them. What makes it illegal for me to go out to the press and say ‘these are exactly the same words I used in Parliament, I am going to amend them. These are the amendments I am going to cause on the bill and I put them in the gazette’. What law have I breached? None whatsoever,” he said.
“Look at the hypocrisy of those people, very hypocritical, hypocrites! They are very hypocritical, they are the ones who have said we love the recommendations of the committee of Parliament, please Minister can you withdraw the bill and go and amend it, include this provision and bring it back to Parliament, haven’t they said that? What provisions are there? Ask Jack Mwiimbu, what standing order is there? He has been in Parliament as long as I, what illegal provision is there for me to withdraw the bill, to go and amend it and bring it back to Parliament? What provision is there? It is just hypocrisy! Jack Mwiimbu must be embarrassed with himself, he is a very hypocritical man! He must not play to the gallery and say I have breached the Constitution.”
Lubinda dared on Mwiimbu and other stakeholders who had claimed that he had breached the constitution to sue him.
“I want to challenge Jack Mwiimbu, if he is a lawyer that he claims he is, can he cite me? Let him take me to the Constitutional Court for breaching the Constitution. He must take me to the Constitutional Court, he must just not play to the gallery and cry ‘wolf, wolf’ when there is not even a puppy outside the door. If he is sincere and he is true that I have breached the Constitution, let him sue me and I give him 48 hours to sue me. If he is a real honest man, let him sue me. All those who are saying it is illegal, let them go to court. When a person commits an illegality what happens? They take them to court. Mwiimbu and the UPND are very litigatious, you know that, they love court very much. Let them go to court and say Lubinda has breached the Constitution,” Lubinda said.
“He is saying that I have breached standing orders of Parliament, let him write to Mr Speaker that ‘Lubinda breached the provisions of standing orders’. Parliament is starting to sit on Friday, I challenge him that by Friday, he must file a complaint to Mr Speaker. If he doesn’t, he must accept that forever, I will refer to him as a hypocrite! I challenge him, he must stop being hypocritical, he must be honest. He cannot on one hand say Lubinda must withdraw the bill and amend it to include the recommendation of the committee and bring it back to Parliament, against which standing order? There is no standing order which allows for that. The provisions of the standing orders of Parliament, if you withdraw a bill, you do not bring it back in that session, and when you bring it, it must come as a totally new bill. For a constitution amendment bill, it means that it must be re-gazetted for 30 days in accordance with Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia.”
Lubinda said he was not a lawyer but he understood the law better than Mwiimbu.
“I am not a lawyer but I understand the law better than him. So I challenge him, can he cite me, let him go to court. For standing orders, let him complain to Mr Speaker so that Mr Speaker can punish me for breaching standing orders in Parliament. My message to citizens is that they must refuse to be misinformed by people like Jack Mwiimbu. Every time, Mr Jack Mwiimbu is changing positions. Mr Mwiimbu even failed to sit on the select committee of Parliament; he was appointed to sit on that committee to receive those submissions from people, he refused. Why did he refuse? He refused because he is a hypocrite, he didn’t want to listen to the issues of the people and now he is claiming that he has listened to the views of the people,” said Lubinda.