Calls to impeach President Lungu are frivolous – FDD
File: President Edgar Lungu talks to FDD president Edith Nawakwi during the Celebration of the one million membership of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Zambia at Heroes Stadium on April 2 5,2015 – Pictures by Thomas Nsama
FDD deputy National Secretary Anotnio Mwanza says the calls to impeach President Lungu are frivolous and unmeritorious as they fall short of the Constitutional ingredients for the impeachment of a Republican President.
Mr Mwanza said the grounds being used to propagate for the impeachement of the President for short of the requirment for impeaching the President.
Below is the statement as issued by Mr Mwanza.
Calls by certain individuals to impeach President Edgar Lungu over his utterances on the judiciary are frivolous and unmeritorious as they fall short of the Constitutional ingredients for the impeachment of a Republican President.
Article 108 of the Constitution of Zambia prescribes the grounds under which the President of Zambia can be impeached.
According to the Constitution, there are ONLY THREE grounds underwhich a Head of State can be impeached. A President can only be impeached on the following grounds:
1. If he has violated the provisions of the Republican Constitution or other law
2. If he has committed a crime under international law and
3. If he has committed gross misconduct.
The Constitution further demands that the motion to impeach the President MUST SPECIFY the PARTICULAR allegations that the President is said to have committed.
As can clearly be deduced from the exegesis above, the utterances of President Edgar Lungu on the judiciary as much as they may be in bad taste cannot warrant his impeachment because they do not violate the three prescribed grounds for impeachment as stipulated by the Constitution of Zambia. In fact the callers of the impeachment have failed to give SPECIFIC allegations in accordance with the Constitution other than saying that the President must be impeached for his “attacks” on the judiciary.
Thus, while we do not agree with the President’s sentiments on the judiciary we find the calls for his impeachment frivolous and vexatious. While the calls for his impeachment may have some merit, politically, they are totally unmeritorious at law.
(1) A Member of Parliament, supported by at least one third of the Members of Parliament, may move a motion for the impeachment of the President alleging that the President has committed—
(a) a violation of a provision of this Constitution or other law;
(b) a crime under international law; or
(c) gross misconduct.
(2) The motion, moved in accordance with clause (1), shall specify the particulars of the allegation.
(3) Where a motion, moved in accordance with clause (1), is supported, in the National Assembly, by a resolution of two-thirds of the Members of Parliament—
(a) the Speaker shall, within forty-eight hours of the adoption of the resolution, inform the Chief Justice of the resolution; and
(b) the Chief Justice shall immediately inform the President of the resolution, whereupon the President shall cease to perform the executive functions and the Vice President shall perform the executive functions, except the power to—
(i) make an appointment; or
(ii) dissolve the National Assembly.
(4) The Chief Justice shall, within seven days of being informed of the resolution of the National Assembly, appoint a tribunal, in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, which shall consist of a chairperson and not less than two other members from among persons who hold, have held or qualify to hold, the office of judge.
(5) The tribunal appointed under clause (4) shall, within thirty days of its appointment
(a) investigate the matter relating to the impeachment of the President; and
(b) report to the Chief Justice as to whether or not the particulars of the allegations specified in the motion have been substantiated.
(6) The President has the right to appear and be represented before the tribunal during its investigation.
(7) The Chief Justice shall, on receipt of the report referred to in clause (5) (b), immediately submit the report to the National Assembly.
(8) Where the tribunal reports that the particulars of an allegation against the President—
(a) is not substantiated, the National Assembly shall, on a motion supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament, taken by secret ballot, resolve that—
(i) the President did not commit the violations specified in the motion; and
(ii) further proceedings shall not be taken with respect to the allegation; or
(b) is substantiated, the National Assembly shall, on a motion supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament, taken by secret ballot, resolve that the President has committed the violations specified in the motion and that the President should cease to hold office forthwith.
(9) The President shall, on the passing of a resolution in accordance with—
(a) clause (7)(a), resume to perform the executive functions; or
(b) clause (7) (b), cease to hold office and be amenable to prosecution without the need to lift the immunity under Article 98.
(10) Where a motion is moved in accordance with clause (1), the President shall not dissolve Parliament.
(11) This Article applies to the Vice-President.
Issued by Antonio Mwanza, FDD Deputy National Secretary and Party Spokesperson.