A FORMER minister has challenged the decision to transfer the instruments of power from Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Edgar Lungu to acting President Guy Scott.
Newton Ng’uni who is former deputy education minister and former national constitution conference (NCC) secretary, has since asked the Lusaka High Court to reverse the decision by attorney General Musa Mwenye to transfer the acting Presidency to Dr Scott, saying it is illegal.
He has sued Dr Guy Scott, Mr Mwenye and Mr Lungu who is Justice and Defence minister as first, second and third respondents respectively.
According to his affidavit in support of ex-parte notice of application for leave to apply for judicial review, Mr Ng’uni said that the Cabinet meeting that purportedly resolved that the instruments of power be transferred to Dr Scott had no authority to discuss such transfer of power.
There was no vacuum of power because the instruments of power were already being held by Mr Lungu.
Mr Mwenye deliberately misled Cabinet because of ulterior motive and irrelevant considerations without regard to national security.
Mr Ng’uni further said that Mr Lungu had no authority to re-delegate power which he was exercising under delegated authority from President Michael Sata.
He said that on October 19, 2014 by Government gazette notice number 638, the republican President Michael Sata appointed Mr Lungu as acting President until his return but unfortunately died on
October 28, 2014 in London rendering the office of President vacant.
Mr Ng’uni said that as a Zambian he has read the Constitution and has been advised by his lawyers that when the office of the President becomes vacant by either death or resignation or removal of the
President from office, an election must be held within 90 days.
He said that there is only one way for a person discharging the functions and duties of the office of the President under delegated authority to have such powers revoked, which is by holding of a Presidential election within 90 days from the date of such an eventuality.
Mr Ng’uni said that a person holding the Presidential instruments of power must hold such instruments and continue to discharge the functions and the duties of the office of the President until another
citizen, qualified to hold the office of President, is elected as provided for by the Constitution.
He said that this is not what happened, as the events of October 29, 2014 following a Cabinet meeting have shown.
Dr Scott being Vice-President, on advice by My Mwenye and with cabinet, resolved that Mr Lungu, as a person performing Presidential functions relinquish the Presidential instruments of power.
He said that Mr Lungu was threatened that if that did not happen, he and other Cabinet ministers would be charged with treason.
Mr Ng’uni said that Mr Mwenye deliberately interpreting the meaning of the term vacancy that was created after Mr Sata’s death to be the qualification for Dr Scott to act and discharge the functions and
duties of the office of the President.
It is his belief that the act of misleading Cabinet by Mr Mwenye has effectively resulted in an illegal assumption of power by Dr Scott and illegally performing functions of that office, causing a constitutional crisis.
It was for this reason that he was seeking permission from the court to challenge Mr Mwenye’s decision to transfer power to Dr Scott from Mr Lungu.
High Court Judge Gertrude Chawatama will hear the matter interparte tomorrow.
Times of Zambia