Heritage Party (HP) president Godfrey Miyanda has described National Restoration Party (NAREP) leader Elias Chipimo’s proposed interim government after the 2016 general elections as a sophisticated coup d’etat because the idea would effectively suspend the election of a republican president.
Gen Miyanda has charged that Mr Chipimo’s idea was an attempt to suspend the presidency in a country and introduce what he has termed as a dummy president without executive powers.
But NAREP general secretary Javan Kamanga has argued that the non-partisan president would enjoy full executive powers and would be the commander in-chief of the defence forces.
Rev Kamanga said the interim government would not create any lacuna or vacuum in the functions of the Head of State and the government during the interim presidency stating that the arrangement would also facilitate the national budget to be passed.
Rev Kamanga said the interim president would have an interim cabinet and would perform all the executive functions until at the expiry of the nine months term.
But General Miyanda said the suggested Chipimo formula of removing the Patriotic Front (PF) from government would only create a vacuum with no government as envisaged in the current republican constitution.
Gen Miyanda said according to Article 33 (1), Zambia shall have a republican president who shall be the Head of State and of government who shall be the commander in chief of the armed forces but that the NAREP idea would leave the legislature and the Judiciary suspended animation with no executive arm.
He said the scheme would only manage to put in place an elected dummy president who he said would be a mere glorified chairman of the National Constitution conference (NCC) or Constitution Review Commission (CRC).
Gen Miyanda said Mr Chipimo was asking Zambians to elect a so-called president whose only function would be to bring forth a new constitution, which power he said the current constitution did not give the substantive President under the three arms of government.
The Heritage Party president said Mr Chipimo was proposing a scheme where uniformed Zambians would be used to achieve what he called not so much of a noble purpose of manipulating the current Constitution. Gen Miyanda wondered what mandate the non-partisan president would have in a case of an emergency in the country stating that in such circumstances, senior citizens would have to act since the interim president would be barred from doing anything besides bringing forth the new constitution.
“Where will you find this non-partisan creature in Zambia today? Twenty years ago, may it would have been possible but today there is no one who is non-partisan. The military, police, intelligence, the church, the NGOs, chiefs, sports organisations, students are all partisan. In good governance, there is always need for continuity. If there is need to go the Chipimo/NAREP way, then the legislature and the judiciary must surely go together with the executive so that we may start afresh’ Gen Miyanda explained.
Gen Miyanda has also expressed concern over the cost of the a general election within nine months after holding another general election.