The decision by President Edgar Lungu to have deputy ministers attend cabinet meetings is unconstitutional and should be stopped immediately, the opposition Forum for Democracy and Democracy (FDD) has charged.
In an unprecedented move, President Lungu chaired the first ever cabinet meeting with deputy ministers at the Government Complex in Lusaka on Monday. This follows his announcement during the opening of the fifth session of the 11th National Assembly that deputy ministers will now be allowed to attend cabinet meetings.
But FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza argues that the Republican Constitution does not mandate deputy ministers to sit in cabinet meetings, rendering President Lungu’s decision illegal and therefore impeacheable.
He notes that Article 49 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia clearly defines the composition of cabinet and who should attend cabinet meetings.
“Article 49 states that, and I quote “There shall be a cabinet which consist of the President the Vice President and the Ministers” end quote. The Constitution further lists the ex-officios who are mandated to sit in Cabinet meetings and Deputy Ministers are not included. There is nowhere in our Constitution where deputy ministers are mandated to seat in cabinet meetings therefore Mr. Lungu’s decision is illegal and should be stopped immediately,” Mwanza said in a statement made available to Zambian Eye.
“As FDD, we challenge Edgar Lungu to explain to the nation which comestibles of the Law he is using to have deputy ministers as part of cabinet proceedings, failure to which we shall seek judicial review in the courts of law. Mr. Lungu’s action is a violation of the Republican Constitution which is an impeachable offence in accordance with Article 37 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia which he swore to uphold and defend.
“President Edgar Lungu’s decision to rape and mar the Republican Constitution with impunity sets a dangerous precedence and has the potential to cause mobocracy and flux in the nation. Zambia is a ascendant democratic state and not a banana republic where Lungu and his minions can do as they please,” Mwanza charged.
He has since urged the nation to rise up and defend the Republican Constitution and ensure that elected leaders act within the confines of the law.