The lackadaisical approach to constitutional and legal matters is appalling.

This explains why we lurch from one crisis to another, sometimes debating serious constitutional offices which should never come into contention. Obviously those  entrusted with state authority  balk and shy away from  rendering sound counsel, for  fear of being misunderstood or at worst being belittled.

To suggest that constitutional provisions are no big deal is a severe indictment of the administration.

For example the   constitution is very clear on the position of the Vice President.  Articles 38(2) and 39 (2) are very specific about the position of Vice President. Indeed when there is a vacancy in the Presidency the Vice President will act as President.

When circumstances arise where these articles are invoked Mr. Wynter Kabimba will have to cede power to the Vice President. That is the law.

There is no ambiguity. No contradiction and indeed no room for a mistake. The constitution establishes and recognizes the position of Vice President.

The letter and spirit of the constitution must always be correctly interpreted.  The President may indeed delegate authority when he has the mental and physical capacity to do so. The power of delegation is however removed when he does not have the mental and physical capacity to exercise this authority.

In such circumstances the Vice President automatically assumes the power of the President and in his absence or incapacity Cabinet elects one of their own to act. The resulting President has all the powers save for the exceptions articulated in the constitution.

At any time the President of course enjoys the luxury of appointing anybody he chooses to act and he does so in writing.

When, for any reason, the President is unable to delegate authority in writing the Vice President will act, pending the return of the President or election of another President after elections to be held within 90 days.

That is why the Vice Presidency is “a big deal” and requires to be treated with the dignity and seriousness it deserves. The fact that the entire Cabinet has allowed ambiguity to prevail is perhaps indicative of the very difficult governance culture in which it operates.

The sloppiness with which matter have been handled is indicative of the serious malaise that our governance system is suffering from. The anarchy at the top is indicative of the prevailing confusion and institutional integrity that is subsisting.

Clearly the current debate over the transfer of power has to do with the secretiveness with which events of the last few day have been treated. Obviously only a few people are privy to what has transpired giving rise to speculation, rumor and anxiety.

It has nothing to do with the President’s health or lack of it. It has to do with the constitution, hierarchy and transfer of power. It has to do with uncertainties, insecurities and doubts.

There are many lessons to be learnt from our current experience, one them being the danger of tempting fate. 

Categorized | Editorial

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