ALLIANCE for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti says the excuses being given by former Cabinet Ministers and their deputies for delaying to repay the money they illegally acquired in 2016 shows that government does not respect the rule of law.

And Miti says PF attempted to use the botched Bill 10 for the guilty ministers to avoid repaying their illegally accrued salaries.

Justice Minister Given Lubinda and former minister of works and supply Yamfwa Mukanga, who currently serves as PF chairman for elections, had both indicated that they were seeking permission from the Constitutional Court to allow them to pay in instalments as they were unable to pay the full amounts.

But in an interview, Miti lamented that the PF government only respected court rulings that suited them.

“This particular government has been defined by their ability to disrespect the law and rulings of the law, except when it suits them and this is just one example. This money should have been paid back years ago, actually if anyone was actually interested in paying back or if actually they respected the rule of law, in fact the whole issue they should not have stayed in office. If they respected the Constitution and constitutionality, even just tradition, they would not have stayed in office, but they did and they did so arrogantly. When a ruling was made against them, they have been trying so hard, again, not to obey it. So, I think it goes to show, overall, a government that does not believe in the rule of law,” Miti observed.

And Miti observed that the PF attempted to use the botched Bill 10 for the guilty ministers to avoid repaying.

“I don’t know about the excuses. I think it is the bigger question; the bigger question is that you have a ruling; first of all, you have ministers that stay in office knowing very well it’s against the Constitution. Once they did that, you knew that because this was not even constitutional. So, once they did that, they tried to do it for political interest. Beyond that, they wanted to make a change in the Constitution via Bill 10 that would have legitimised their stay,” said Miti.

“I am pretty sure that if Bill 10 had passed, they would have said, ‘Bill 10 has overtaken this ruling.’ So, from what we have seen, they have tried using all manner of ‘underhanded methods’ to use public resources to campaign in elections that is what this is always about. Overall, rather than looking at what individuals are doing, we need to understand this for what it is: a government that does not believe in the rule of law and will at every turn, try to get away with taking personal interests, which is abrogating the law.”