JUSTICE Minister Mulambo Haimbe says under the Constitution, the President and his vice continue to hold executive power until they hand over to the president elect after an election, adding that withdrawing security and other privileges prior to that puts their offices at risk.
On Wednesday, European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) recommended the removal from the law of undue campaign privileges for the President and Vice-President to ensure equal campaigning for all candidates.
Commenting on this in an interview, Haimbe said it was a matter which could best be addressed on the basis of the majority submissions as the constitution was being reviewed.
“The call for a withdrawal of Presidential privileges during the campaign is not new. It has cropped up from time to time during discussions on constitutional review. It is a matter that can best be addressed on the basis of the majority submissions as we review the constitution. That being said, I believe a practical and balanced approach needs to be adopted because under the Constitution, the President and his vice continue to hold executive power until they hand over to the president elect after an election. Therefore, withdrawing security and other privileges prior to that puts their offices at risk and creates a potential crisis. Any proposal needs to address this,” said Haimbe.
Presenting the EU EOM final report, Tuesday, Chief observer Maria Arena said the electoral process act made no clear distinction between what was considered official action and what was considered political campaigning.
“The fourth priority is speaking about campaign privileges for the incumbent. The code of conduct embedded in the electoral process act regulates key aspect of campaigning which exempt the President and Vice-President from restrictions on the use of state-owned transportation and facilities in connection with their offices. The electoral process act makes no clear distinction between what is considered official action and what is considered political campaigning. The EU EOM therefore recommends removing undue campaign privileges for the President and the Vice-President to ensure equal campaign conditions for all candidates,” said Arena.