JUSTICE Minister Mulambo Haimbe says the UPND government is not vindictive and that it is clear that law enforcement agencies are acting from an informed position.
And Haimbe says Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 did not have any provision to amend Article 52 sub article 6, contrary to Lusaka lawyer Makebi Zulu’s submission.
Commenting on acting PF vice president Given Lubinda’s remarks that PF members should brace themselves for more raids, summons and investigations, Haimbe said that statement was a personification of the adage “the guilty are always afraid.
“Quite obviously, the expression or the adage in English as it goes ‘the guilty are afraid’, I think that sums it all up. The belief that whether it is the PF, honourable Lubinda and others associated with them or indeed the general public, if they believe they have not done anything, they shouldn’t be worried. The question that begs an answer is if UPND government is being vindictive, first of all they would direct the law enforcement agencies on who to go for. Clearly, that is not the case. Otherwise you would have the entire lot of them being followed for any reason or none at all,” Haimbe said.
“The fact that the processes being undertaken are in relation to individuals, some of those individuals were seen not too long ago in the recent past talking about their vast wealth, talking about how K2 million had become pocket change. It is quite obvious that these processes being undertaken by the law enforcement agencies are informed.From what I have noticed, from the media, the law enforcement agencies are actually talking about assets that are in existence and all they are saying is ‘can you account for this’. Now has that become a witch hunt? Now how does that become related to going for the Patriotic Front? I think in all honesty and due respect to honourable Lubinda, that it is a typical personification of the adage of the ‘guilty are afraid’. I would want to reiterate that as far as the new dawn government is concerned, we are not giving any directive to the law enforcement agencies. I am aware that the political
party, the UPND which I am a member of, is equally not doing the same.”
Haimbe said the establishment of Economic and Financial Fast Track courts would determine whether law enforcement agencies were doing the correct things or not.
“In fact, the process is even anchored in a judicial process at the end of the day. In the unlikely event that the investigative wings are not acting professionally and on the basis of investigation, it will show itself in the courts of law. Now we have the fast track courts in place so very quickly, the public will know what the true position is. That, I think, will either vindicate or otherwise the government of the day at the end of the day whether or not the law enforcement agencies are doing the correct thing…They will be very quick because the fast track courts are now running as I said before,” Haimbe said.
And Haimbe said there was no provision in Bill 10 which could have dealt with the lacuna in Article 52 of the constitution.
“First of all, the provisions relating to this particular aspect of Article 52 sub Article 6 were never part of the amendments that were proposed under Bill 10. So again, it is a blatant lie! Unfortunately, our friends tend to think that their political fortunes will improve and that they can continue to give Zambians less than truthful positions of both law and fact. That is not a reality. They are in fact making their own [image] a lot worse because Zambians now know that we have people that will not be forthright in the way they bring out information, if it suits them. So the starting point is, was there an amendment to article 52 sub article 6 part of Bill 10? The clear answer to that is no! We talked about this, I personally was affected in Lusaka Central with regards [how] the ECZ opted to interpret article 52 sub article 6 of the Constitution,” he said.
“I wrote to the ECZ, this is on record, the position has not changed. I wrote to the ECZ and said this provision is not being construed correctly or if at all we believe it is being construed correctly, then it opt to be interpreted by the courts of law in the interest of posterity. At that time, PF was in government. At that time, they were trying to frustrate the Lusaka Central election and they insisted and stood by their guns. The precedent was set during the PF’s regime, so how can they turn around and say this is working in favour of the current ruling party? That is not correct. We are on record and Cornelius Mweetwa, the party spokesperson, speaking from a party perspective, has also been on record that as UPND we are not happy with that provision.”
Haimbe insisted that there was need to formulate a constitution which could stand the test of time.
“Most importantly, from day one, President Hichilema has been clear and we as Ministry of Justice have reiterated that position that constitution review is a must, not because of this simple article 52 clause but because the 2016 Constitution has been left with lacunas and the Constitutional regime of the country is not at the best. We want to put in a constitution that will stand the test of time and the processes are already in train and we have been consistent. So now honourable Lubinda wants to mislead the nation to say we are not committed to the constitutional process, it shows clearly that these are individuals who do not have the interest of the people at heart, who do not know how to offer checks and balances,” said Haimbe.
“They believe telling untruths is the way to offer checks and balances. They believe as can be seen from honourable (Raphael) Nakacinda ranting that you get away with abusing your freedom of expression, Zambians should see them for what they are and continue rejecting them including the Kabwata by election.”