PF information and publicity chairperson Raphael Nakacinda says he has information that the Executive, led by President Hakainde Hichilema, had a meeting with former KCM provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu where certain immunities were given to him after being persuaded to resign.
But Presidential Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya has described Nakacinda’s claims as nonsensical, saying the President does not participate in things of that sort.
Meanwhile, Bwalya has warned that if there is any member of President Hichilema’s legal team who might be undermining the course of justice, that will not be condoned because it goes against the Head of State’s resolve to uphold the rule of law.
Addressing the media, Wednesday, Nakacinda challenged the President, the Finance Minister and Lungu to search their conscience and tell Zambians whether or not such a deal was cut.
“We have information that actually, the Executive led by the top office of the land, the Presidency, had a meeting with this Mr Milingo to negotiate a deal that they called in the interest of the state. To which we are made to understand even certain immunities were given to Mr Milingo. In that meeting Zambians, the Head of State was part of that meeting, the Minister of Finance was part of that meeting. We are made to understand that some officers in State House were part of that meeting to which Mr Milingo was being persuaded in the interest of the state to be able to give in, resign, so that the state can be able to solve economic issues,” he said.
“I want to appeal to my elder brother, the Republican President, His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema to search his conscience. I want Dr Musokotwane, who I know very well, who used to be with me in MMD and now Minister of Finance to search his conscience. I also want to challenge Mr Milingo and his lawyers State Counsel Sakwiba Sikota and others to search their conscience and tell the Zambians whether or not there was a negotiation, a deal cut to which Milingo was accorded some immunities.”
Meanwhile, Nakacinda said Siyunyi had risen through the ranks and served the people of Zambia diligently for many years.
“I think Zambia is moving on a dangerous path of wanting to politicize everybody and everything. The lady and woman who is in the office of DPP today, first of all, she is the first woman to occupy that office from 1965, an outfit that every Zambian and every woman in this country is supposed to celebrate and be proud of. This is a lady that people want to treat as though she came into this office of DPP as an opportunist favoured by Patriotic Front. When in fact straight from school, from the University of Zambia, her first assignment or job was to join the office of DPP as a prosecutor,” he said.
“She has risen through the ranks and has served the people of Zambia diligently for close to 30 years in that institution. And yet people have the audacity to try and suggest that the Patriotic Front went and got… maybe somebody was like a cadre and therefore appointed them as DPP. I think the Zambian people need to be reminded. Some of us came to know about state counsel Lillian Siyunyi during the time of harassment, intimidation, and blackmail of Mukelebai Mukelebai.”
He said Siyunyi was one of the highly qualified prosecutors that the country had remained with.
“When there was an attempt between 2002 and 2007/08 to undermine the office of the DPP, Mukelebai Mukelebai as a professional prosecutor himself took decisions standing on the provision of the law which is the constitution. And some of the elements that had unique agendas at that time began a propaganda programme to demonise Mukelebai Mukelabai. He refused [for the] office of the DPP to be compromised and some of us believe is what led to his unfortunate death, a death whose circumstance up to today has not been explained,” he said.
“One of the heroines that stood out at that time in defence of the office of DPP is the current DPP Madam Lillian Siyunyi. She stood with the DPP at the time in defence of the Constitution and she was credited for being as it where, young as she was at that time, a very stubborn young lawyer or young prosecutor that could even stand up to the Head of State at the time to make sure that the Constitution of the Republic is respected. Her coming back to that office was not out of favour, it was out of recognition that at the expense of the taxpayer, this lady had been capacitated in terms of training and enriching her understanding of the prosecutor’s role. She is one of the highly qualified prosecutors that this country has remained with.”
Nakacinda further expressed disappointment over the statement issued by LAZ president Abyudi Shonga on the matter.
“I was surprised yesterday to read about the statement from LAZ attributed to the LAZ president. State Counsel Abyudi Shonga is one of the people that I highly respect, but today I can say I expected more from him. Why? Because he is a former Attorney General and he needs to know better. The statement to rule the DPP’s office offside is not only reckless but irresponsible on the part of the person who knows better. If the LAZ president was just a mere lawyer, possibly we would not even make a comment, but he was expected to know better. He was occupying the office of the Attorney General,” he said.
“I must disclose today that we miss the LAZ of the time of George Kunda, Mr Mudenda and other LAZ presidents that spoke on behalf of the Zambian people and made sure that not only the Judiciary but also the Executive is kept in check to make sure that the rule of law prevails. The letter that is being debated was leaked, even to discuss that letter in itself is an illegality because leaking a government document is an offence. So we want to find out who leaked that document. Is the information we hear that that document was leaked from the State House true? If it is true, what agenda is the State House advancing?”
Nakacinda further bemoaned the silence exhibited by women’s organisations on the “abuse” of Siyunyi.
“Women of the Republic of Zambia, how can you go to sleep when your fellow woman has been unjustly abused not only for her professional work? If she has made a mistake professionally, that you can excuse, but she is being abused even at a personal level. Everybody is a boyfriend. So even for this press briefing that I have had today to speak principally in defence of that office, because it is a woman occupying it, tomorrow Nakacinda is a boyfriend. Milingo is a boyfriend, we can even possibly say since Mr Hakainde is also a beneficiary of a Nolle, possibly he is also a boyfriend, even Pilato since he is a beneficiary of a nolle, he is a boyfriend?” asked Nakacinda.
But Bwalya described the claims as hallucinations.
“‘The Executive led by the President’, what does that even mean? Those are just hallucinations. The President does not participate in things of that sort. This is a man who is bent on undermining the credibility of the President, trying to draw him into matters that the President totally has no involvement in. None whatsoever. Those are not only lies, they are fabrications. What he is saying doesn’t exist. The letter of resignation was signed by Milingo Lungu himself. Why would he want to place the responsibility of his resignation on anyone other than himself? We have to be bold enough and be able to own the decisions that we make. If Milingo Lungu never felt that it was the right decision for him to resign, he didn’t have to. We mustn’t allow for the name of the President to be drawn into such nonsensical fabrications,” Bwalya said.
Meanwhile, asked what his message would be to an appointee of the President who was colluding with the DPP to protect some individuals in the PF, Bwalya said such an occurrence would directly go against President Hichilema’s repeated calls for enhanced accountability in public leadership.
“And if there are or there should be any such individual or individuals, understood to be attempting to undermining the course of justice, not only does it go against the President’s own repeated calls for enhanced accountability in public leadership, it also undermines the collective will and resolve of the people of Zambia to fight and put an end to the scourge of corruption, an evil that has decimated the social and economic fortunes of ordinary Zambians – and we are more than determined to put an end to such,” he said.
Asked whether he agreed with the LAZ statement that the DPP did not have powers to instruct law enforcement wings, Bwalya referred the question to the Ministry of Justice.
He emphasised that all appointed servants’ allegiance was to the laws of the land.
“For any appointed servant, whether it is the DPP, whether it is the judge, whether it is a police commissioner, their allegiance is to the laws of the land. It is not to the UPND government or any government for that matter. Not even to the President. They owe their allegiance to the laws of the land like all of us do,” Bwalya said.
Asked whether President Hichilema was following these developments closely, Bwalya responded in the affirmative, but added that the Head of State would not interfere in any processes.
“If a matter is of public interest, the President like any other citizen does take interest in all matters of public interest. But as a matter of standard practice, all of us have to wait for these matters to reach a logical conclusion as per the legal prescriptions that guide how these matters and several others should unfold. Interference is something that the President is not going to do with any process regarding any individual,” said Bwalya.