LAZ rebukes Lungu over threats on judiciary

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The Law Association of Zambia has demanded that President Edgar Lungu retracts his threats on Constitutional Court judges over his eligibility to run for a third term of office.

Speaking on arrival at Solwezi Airport on Thursday, President Lungu threatened to cause chaos in the country if Constitutional Court judges tried to emulate the Kenyan courts by disqualifying him from seeking reelection in 2021.

The head of state claimed he had information that some judges wanted to be “adventurous” but warned that their adventure will plunge the country into chaos.

“People are saying Zambian courts should be very brave and make decisions like the Kenyan courts, saying Zambian courts should be brave and make decisions which are in the interests of the people. But look at what is happening in Kenya right now! I’m saying the courts of law in Zambia should also see what is happening; they should not behave as though they are not part of our African continent,” said President Lungu.

“The most important thing I can say right now is that in 2021, I’m available to stand if my party decides that I contest. But to our friends who are in the court system, I’m saying, do not plunge this country into chaos by imitating or emulating Kenya or any other court system, for that matter, which does not care about the interests of the people. I’m saying this in front of you people, there are cameras in front of me and there are Zambians who are writing and recording because I have heard some judges say ‘why don’t we emulate the Kenyan courts? They are very brave with what they have done.’ I don’t think that is right; we should preserve peace, we should listen to the voice of the people, we should reflect the will of the people in the Constitution. Whether I am eligible to stand or not in 2021 should not be dependent on imitating Kenya.”

But LAZ has strongly condemned President Lungu’s remarks, saying national unity and the integrity of Zambia’s democracy depend on the rule of law and justice for all.

“LAZ calls on His Excellency President Edgar Lungu to retract his statement and assure the public that justice will be allowed to prevail no matter the outcome of the impending judgment or decision of the Constitutional Court in the case that will determine his eligibility for elections in 2021,” LAZ president Linda Kasonde said in a statement today and reminded President Lungu, himself a lawyer, of his sworn duty under article 91 of the Constitution to ‘respect, uphold and safeguard our Constitution; promote democracy and enhance the unity of the nation; promote and protect the rights and freedoms of a person; and uphold the rule of law.

Kasonde stated that LAZ was alarmed by statements made by President Lungu that appeared to threaten the judiciary against making any adverse ruling against him in the impending judgement.

“As one of the three arms of government, the Judiciary is an integral part of Zambia’s democracy, ensuring checks and balances on adherence to the rule of law and constitutionalism in the country. The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) is therefore alarmed by statements made by the Republican President, Mr Edgar Lungu on 2nd November 2017 at the Solwezi Airport in North Western Province, that appear to threaten the Judiciary against making any adverse ruling against him in the impending judgment on the issue of whether President Lungu is eligible to stand in the presidential election in 2021. LAZ is deeply concerned with the statements especially that they came from the Head of State,”

Kasonde stated that her association was deeply concerned with the statement especially that they came from the Head of State.

“Such statements do little to dispel the notion that the executive tries to interfere with the work of the judiciary and that separation of powers in our democracy is limited. These statements further serve to undermine the authority of the judiciary and erode public confidence in the institution. As such, LAZ condemns these statements unreservedly,” Kasonde stated.

“Article 118 (1) of the Constitution of Zambia states, ‘The judicial authority of the Republic derives from the people of Zambia and shall promote accountability.’ Article 118 (2) of the Constitution further states that in exercising judicial authority, courts shall be guided by the principle that ‘justice shall be done to all, without discrimination’ or, as President Lungu himself put it, ‘without fear or favour’. The integrity of our judicial system and indeed our democracy rests on this principle; indeed no one is above the Constitution.”

Kasonde stated that the judiciary shall be able to perform its duties without intimidation or threat of harm, especially from the Head of State who should be the first person to defend or protect the judiciary from attack.

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7 Responses to LAZ rebukes Lungu over threats on judiciary

  1. yes he is a thief he has made peoples life hard throwing out of zambia with out any reason just get him out of the office

    sunny
    November 3, 2017 at 12:46 pm
    Reply

  2. Madam Kasonde don’t pretend you are behind this rubbish.

    The Game
    November 3, 2017 at 1:07 pm
    Reply

  3. Poor ECL is between a rock aned a hard place! First he unleashed lawlessness and indiscipline in the country which he used to ascend to power. The same lawlessness and indiscipline he has used to run the country. He prematurely sponsored a coterie of polical parties with less than 1% national representation to sue for his third term. Now chickens have come home to roost. If the court will not rule in his favour, he faces a serious early defection of his Bemba constituency to the likely Bemba candidate Kambwili, Kalaba, etc! If the court says he is eligible, well citizens, including the unruly youth who have been his principal supporters, will be mobilised to defend the constitution. Poor Edgar.

    Johannes
    November 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm
    Reply

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    GuzmanAndrea
    November 4, 2017 at 4:59 pm
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  5. I really don’t see where he threatens the Judiciary, he’s saying their decision should not be based on what Kenya has done, and that blindly emulating foreign institutions will plunge the country into chaos, which is correct. I think the opposition are being opportunistic and I think the writer of this article either has an agenda or a weak grasp of the English language. His quote is a warning and not a threat.

    El P
    November 5, 2017 at 8:24 am
    Reply

    • You can see but you cant reason!

      mitimiti
      November 5, 2017 at 9:56 am
      Reply

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