Green Party president Peter Sinkamba says he was very shocked by criticism that instead of paying back illegal salaries on behalf of Home Affairs Minister and former Copperbelt minister Mwenya Musenge, he should have given the money to the poor when that is exactly what he had done.

On Friday, Sinkamba paid K30, 000 and K25,000 for Musenge and Kampyongo respectively, promising to clear the rest before January 5.

In an interview, Sinkamba said the two were his close friends and he didn’t want them to defy the Constitutional Court.

“The major reason why I paid for those two [Stephen Kampyongo and Mwenya Musenge] is because they are my close friends. I wouldn’t want their names to be listed amongst those who failed to pay. And as such, you know they say in English that what are friends for? When you are friends you do all sorts of things to each other. The question is, besides friendship what other reasons did I have? You must realise that we have a very important court called the constitutional court. One of the highest and very critical courts for the country because it is the court that is mandated to deal with all matters related to the supreme law of the land, the constitution. And therefore, that court must be held in very high esteem by all members of the public. Unfortunately, this court has been judged harshly by the court of public opinion,” Sinkamba said.

“It has been very bad such that the integrity of that court to deal with constitutional matters of this country is now at a very critical stage. We have now a situation where some members of the country are even demanding the disbanding of that court because of three cases; the illegal stay of Ministers in office, The election petition and the Presidential illegibility case. But if the judiciary lacks the confidence of the people, that country is finished. So, the judgement of this court should be highly respected regardless of whether you agree with it or not. So, the judgement says the monies should be paid back before the fifth of January 2021, those monies must be paid without further excuse. So that we close this case completely and look at the other cases standing.”

He said by paying on their behalf, he had actually given money to the poor.

“My view is that if we can close this case and just remain with the illegibility one, it better because pretty soon we will be going into elections 2021. We are likely to start encountering further disagreements which will land into the same court. So, if we can clear the backlog and focus on the new issues better. They didn’t approach me and say we are unable to pay, they are able to pay off course. I mean honourable Kampyongo is able to pay, Mwenya Musenge although he complains to the media off course he was going to struggle to pay this but of course he was going to do it,” said Sinkamba.

“But what I mean is that several times when this decision was made, I was attacking UPND and LAZ for failing to enforce the court decision and by doing so, it was creating a scenario where people were beginning to believe that the decisions of this court are useless because they cannot be enforced. And that’s a danger to the country like Zambia that once in a while finds itself at crossroads and has to rely on this very court determination of certain matters. If it is not respected as it should be, it is very easy for chaos and acrimony to break. And then there were people who were saying but couldn’t you give the money to the poor, and I was surprised that they couldn’t understand that that’s exactly what I had done.”