IN a dramatic turn of events, Cabinet has endorsed Vice-President Guy Scott to act as President in a bid to forestall a constitutional crisis following the death of President Michael Sata on Tuesday.
Cabinet met twice yesterday to discuss the transition as the majority of ministers felt that since Mr Lungu was appointed by President Sata to act as President he should have been allowed to continue.
However it was reported that the Attorney-General Musa Mwenye who was part of the cabinet meeting warned that it would be unconstitutional for anybody other than the Vice President to act as stipulated in the Constitution.
Mr Mwenye apparently acknowledged that the President had never asked Scott to act but according to the constitution any vacancy in the presidency should be filled by the vice-president.
The dawn meeting was subsequently adjourned for 11.00 hours when another meeting convened with the Vice President present following several interventions by some ministers who felt strongly that Mr Lungu should act in accordance with the President’s preference.
Mr Mwenye again warned that it would be treason to disregard the Constitution and to obviate the crisis and in the presence of information that a Constitution challenge in a court of law was being considered, Cabinet agreed to abide by section 38 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia
But most ministers noted that the spirit of the Constitution had been violated as Mr Sata himself never had at any time allowed Dr Scott to act as President because he realized the implication of Article 34 (3) (b) which prescribed that only a presidential candidate with both parents being Zambian would stand.
In the interest of long-term stability and considering that a by-election would be held in 90 days, it was agreed by consensus that the Vice -President should act as President.