PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has revealed that there are some Patriotic Front (PF) officials who are undermining his presidency but has warned that he will take them on punch-for punch because as Head of State, he has the responsibility to protect and defend all Zambians.
And the President has vowed that he will not abuse his presidency to fix citizens, stating that he is not going to intervene in matters surrounding the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito who has been dragged to court by a concerned citizen and now faces several charges including forging of court documents and obtaining a loan by fraudulent misrepresentation.
President Lungu said he would not be blackmailed by PF members who wanted him to remove some of the ministers he has appointed into his inclusive Government on suspicion that they were members of opposition political parties.
Mr Lungu sounded the warning yesterday at State House during a swearing-in ceremony for Deputy Inspector General of Police for administration Malcolm Mulenga.
President Lungu charged that the PF officials who were not happy with his decision to appoint members of opposition political parties into his Government were daring him and challenged them to come out in the open so that they could face up.
The Head of State said he did not mind if the party was not going to adopt him for the 2016 general elections for making the right decisions of forming an all-inclusive Government.
He said he was being undermined because some of the people he has appointed into his Government were suspected to be coming from opposition political parties.
“Madam chairperson, (referring to Vice-President Inonge Wina who is national chairperson of the PF), some of my colleagues in the PF are undermining my presidency. Let me warn them that I will take them on punch-for-punch. Some of my colleagues believe that some of the people I have appointed are not good enough to hold such positions. When I appoint you, I do so on merit and those who want to dare me, come out in the open and I do not mind going away in 2016,” President Lungu said.
And the President said he was not going to use his office to fix anybody and that matters that were in court such as that of Mr Nchito would have to be exhausted by the courts as he was not going to interfere with the court processes.
The President said he would only intervene in court matters if the Constitution allowed him to do so in such matters as pardoning convicts. He said he was aware that a constitutional office holder (Nchito) was facing challenges and that there had been calls from some quarters that his office should intervene.
The Head of State said he would have to wait for the courts to decide on Mr Nchito’s fate, stating that those who had dragged the DPP to court could not petition the President to take other actions because that would be putting the accused in double jeopardy.
“There are issues that are currently topical. There is a constitutional office holder who is facing challenges and some people have been asking my office to intervene. Such matters are in court and I will have to wait for the court to decide. I can only intervene if the Constitution allows me such as pardoning a convict which is my prerogative. I will do so without being induced or corrupted,” President Lungu said.
He said the job of the police was challenging and that some of his colleagues in the political arena had been criticizing him for not directing the police command to arrest known suspects.
Mr Lungu said he was going to allow the police and other law enforcement agencies to work as independently as possible because he was not ready to order them to effect arrests on any citizen.
He advised that the police must conduct thorough investigations before effecting an arrest and taking suspects to court.
“I am not going to order you to arrest anyone but as police you must carry out thorough investigations if you suspect criminality. I want you to work as independently as possible and my job is to protect all Zambians,” the President said.