The insistence by government to keep an unqualified judge to act as Chief justice may suggest that President Sata was scheming to ambush Parliament, Heritage Party President Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has said.
The General has since warned Members of Parliament to be alert saying the scheme may seem farfetched but was possible in this scenario where the executive is flouting the constitution and other laws with impunity.
And General Miyanda has condemned the increasing political intolerance by the PF regime as evidenced by the latest assault on some journalists saying this was aimed at intimidating citizens and journalists in particular adding that the country was under siege from its own elected government.
Recently, the General stated that if the executive did not rectify the omission regarding the appointment of a substantive Chief Justice, the controversy surrounding the issue will not stop and speculated about the possibility of the President ambushing Parliament and appointing a person of his true choice.
“Article 93 (1) provides for the appointment by the president of the Chief justice and Deputy Chief Justice and other Supreme Court Judges. However the provision makes the submitted name subject to ratification by National Assembly. Article 44 (4) provides guidance on the said ratification. My reasoned speculation on ambush is based on this Article 44 (4)” he writes in a statement made available to the Daily Nation.
General Miyanda explains that when the president submits a name for the first time to National Assembly and that name is rejected, the president may submit another name which is still subject to ratification.
“If this is also rejected, the president is free to submit a third name but if this third name is also rejected, it shall take effect irrespective of the refusal by the National Assembly. This is where the ambush takes place, especially if MPs are sleeping” he writes.
He urged the president to submit a qualified name that meets all the requirements of the constitution and other relevant laws.
General Miyanda said the executive, especially the president had no justifiable reasons to complain about the issue concerning the Acting Chief Justice even if citizens speculated rightly or wrongly “because they have refused or neglected to engage people directly through a press briefing.”
He urged Zambians to speak out wherever and whenever they have issues with the government “because our nation is under siege not from an external force but from our own elected government adding that debate must continue as it was the civilised way to express views rather than throwing stones”
He wondered why government was silencing journalists by raiding their homes, searching them, detaining them and arresting them for highly questionable offences instead of answering questions and responding truthfully to the issues being raised saying “arresting journalists does not answer the questions nor solve the problems”.
“In democracy, debate is healthy, it is imperative and even civilised to debate rather than wield machetes adding that is the PF did not want to debate it should not stifle people’s voices through intimidation, arrests, violence, one-sided propaganda in public media” he said.
The general maintained that a presidential press briefing was another important type of dialogue, putting the president in front of the mirror so that he could be quizzed, cross examined or even harassed until he gave truthful answers adding that “since the president has avoided the press and citizens, we are free to speculate”