Hichilema’s OP remark worries Lungu

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he is deeply worried that the police have not moved to question United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema who has claimed that he is receiving intelligence briefings ahead of the Head of State.

President Lungu said he was concerned that the police and other investigative security wings had not bothered to find out how he was allegedly accessing presidential intelligence information.

The Head of State said the police should find out whether Mr Hichilema was only playing politics in his claims or his intention was to cause confusion and insurgency in the country.

Speaking after swearing in Justice Irene Mambilima as Chief Justice at State House yesterday, President Lungu said it was the duty of the police to move in and investigate Mr Hichilema’s claims and that if there was a criminal activity, necessary remedial measures should be taken.

The Head of State said while he was not going to interfere with institutions of good governance such as Parliament and the Judiciary, as President he was uncomfortable that some people were undermining State security institutions such as the Office of the President (OP).

He warned that he was not going to allow political leaders to undermine State institutions such as the intelligence because there was a danger that such careless claims could make Government ungovernable.

“The president of the United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema has been claiming that he controls the OP (Office of the President) and the police have not moved in to find out from him how he is allegedly accessing presidential intelligence briefings ahead of the Head of State.

The police should find out whether Mr Hichilema was only politicking or it was in the quest to cause confusion and insurgency in the country.

The Head of State said Mr Hichilema should make it clear whether he was running a parallel government or was just politicking when he said that he controlled the Zambia Security Intelligence Service.

He stated that the UPND leader should make it clear if he had usurped his (Lungu) powers as President or if the country had two Presidents.

And President Lungu said as a lawyer, he had great respect for the doctrine and sanctity of the separation of powers and would therefore never interfere with the functions of the Judiciary and the legislature.

He said he as the chief executive officer of the country, he was going to allow all institutions of good governance to operate independently.

President Lungu said the overwhelming ratification of Justice Mambilima by Parliament last week was testimony that Zambians had a lot of confidence in the former Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson.

“Most of the accolades for the Chief Justice made in Parliament during her ratification spoke for me, suffice to say that the public expects speedy reforms of the judicial system. Parliament debated the Malambo, Petauke and Mulobezi seats which have had no representation in the House and that is one area you must excel having had the experience of the pressures at the electoral commission.  And Justice Mambilima said she would immediately get down to work and address the challenges of delayed justice as a result of inadequate personnel in the judicial system.

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