GBM warns ministers


UPND vice president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has threatened that Cabinet ministers will be driving Government vehicles at their own risk because, according to him, the amended Constitution provided for the dissolution of Cabinet after the expiry of the current National Assembly.

But Lusaka lawyer and Patriotic Front (PF) legal adviser Tutwa Ngulube says that there is nothing that connects the dissolution of Parliament to the vacation of office of Cabinet ministers.

Mr Bwalya has warned that UPND would effect citizen’s arrest against Cabinet ministers who would remain in office and use Government facilities after the dissolution of Parliament.

Mr Ngulube said that a minister could only lose office in four circumstances – either through resignation, suffering mental disability, being removed by the President or when a new President assumes office.

He said that Articles 116 and 117 read with sub-section 3 did not imply that the dissolution of Parliament meant that ministers needed to vacate office.

He said that it was vested in the President to decide whether he would allow ministers to continue or not after the dissolution of Parliament.

But Mr Mwamba said the UPND would not want to see ministerial flags flying on Government vehicles and that those who would not heed the warning would be arrested by citizens.

“I will effect an arrest on ministers who will be seen driving ministerial vehicles when Parliament dissolves,’’ GBM said.

He said the new Constitution provided that the President could only pick a minister from elected Members of Parliament but no one would remain as an MPs once Parliament dissolves.

‘‘I don’t know which Constitution President Edgar Lungu is trying to apply. He should  listen to the people of Zambia who made it possible for him to be in State House because his being in State House does not mean he should plug his ears,’’ GBM said.

GBM added that Government vehicles did not belong to President Lungu and Chishimba Kambwili unless he explained to the people which Constitution he was applying.

Mr Mwamba said this at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court yesterday shortly after a case in which he is charged for proposing violence against President Lungu was adjourned because the State informed the court that they received submissions from the defence very late.

The matter was coming up for submissions of an application to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court or quash the matter in which GBM is facing a charge of proposing violence when he said that he would go for President Lungu’s throat.

And defence lawyers, led by Jack Mwiimbu, submitted in writing that there was nothing that GBM said or did to imply or express an intention to inflict injury on President Lungu.

They said Section 91 (1) was just being used by the State through the police to antagonise the accused which should not be the case in a democratic society where the freedoms of expression, assembly and association were paramount.

The defence further submitted that the indictment was outside the permissible derogates provided under the Constitution as read together with the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act no. 2.

It was also submitted that the court was obligated to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court for the interpretation and determination of its constitutionality.

The matter comes up on June 3 for the State’s response and June 15 for ruling.

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