MINISTER of Justice Mulambo Haimbe says a Director of Public Prosecutions cannot be removed at the whim of a government because she enjoys security of tenure, but there are clear constitutional provisions which can be followed in case of misconduct.
When asked about the UPND’s relationship with the DPP, Haimbe said in an interview that constitutional offices did not look at that.
“For constitutional offices, we don’t look at that. The DPP enjoys, for example, what is called security of tenure under the constitution. So whether she was hired by the previous regime, she enjoys that security of tenure. She cannot be removed at the whim of a government otherwise then the DPPs will be loyal to the governments of the day, rather than being loyal to the people,” Haimbe said.
“However, there are clear provisions where first of [all] the DPP can resign, the DPP can choose to take up another official function and the DPP like any other person can be removed using the provisions contained in the Constitution basically for misconduct, for these other matters that are contained for gross misconduct. The way a judge is removed basically, it is the same way. That is not about the UPND or even the Executive vs the DPP, it is about following the constitutional norms and principles.”
Haimbe said both the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Drug Enforcement of Commission were independent and government could not interfere with their work.
“First of all, both offices that you have mentioned are independent under the constitutional provisions that dictate how they function. Law Enforcement Agencies are completely independent of this office. We only collaborate for administrative purposes. But when it comes to the substantive operations of their duties, they are independent. Likewise, the DPP is a constitutional office which is also completely independent. Even in a family, you will have situations where disputes may arise and then it’s about the two entities addressing the issue with of course guidance from the Attorney General in respect, for example, this alleged letter which I have not seen. So, suffice to say that differences may arise,” said Haimbe.
“I think His Excellency made a very clear statement yesterday that notwithstanding anything that may arise, the focus of the government remains that of ensuring that we follow the rule of law and that the fight against corruption remains undeterred by anything. So, I think that gives the general picture that clearly whatever may be considered as disputes or misunderstandings between the various offices, at the end of the day, they will have to align to the need for us as a country to deliver on the fight against corruption. Nothing will deter that. Insofar as there is any cross cutting administrative issues that need to be addressed, they will be addressed. If there are any legal issues that we wish to advise on, the Office of the Attorney General is there to advise.”