EASTERN Province Minister Makebi Zulu says President Edgar Lungu should not be blamed for the illegal stay of ministers in office because his interpretation of the law was valid.
A number of stakeholders, including Constitutional Lawyer Rodger Chongwe and then Minister of North Western Province Dawson Kafwaya, have said President Lungu breached the Constitution and misled ministers to stay in office after Parliament was dissolved.
But in an interview, Zulu said the matter was not straight forward as it had dual meanings.
“The reason the matter was taken to court is because it had dual meanings. The job of the court was to interpret that particular meaning of the constitution and they read in the Constitution and looked at what could have been the intention and things of that sort. That is what they had to go through, it is not something that was straight forward. So the reason you come to court when it comes to reinterpretation is because we wanted it to be settled. Now that the Constitutional Court has settled the matter, it is now clear, before then it wasn’t clear, that is why the Ministers continued because the Constitution said they would handover to the next Minister who takes over, that is what the Constitution said, but the Constitutional Court disagreed, read into the Constitution and came up with their own interpretation,” Zulu said.
He said it was also illogical to ask President Lungu to pay on behalf of the former ministers because he is not the one who received the money.
“The word is pay back, so pay back means you got something and you take it back. It is not President Lungu who got anything. But in this particular case, the circumstances of this particular case are known and we are just going with the issue of obeying the court order because we have to abide by the law. We can’t be seen to be law breakers and in this particular case, we just have to uphold the rule of law and abide by the judgement of the court,” said Zulu.
“So it is based on the interpretation of the Constitutional Court which is mandated to interpret the Constitution. You can’t [lump] it on the President. I think it is being stretched way too far. I think the intention is simply meant to settle political scores which in this case is irrelevant because we are relying on the ruling of the Constitutional Court.”