The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has been challenged to give the nation legal guidance on the debate of the appointment of former Lusaka Mayor Mulenga Sata as State House Deputy Minister.
The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) Executive Director Macdonald Chipenzi has been quoted in some sections of the media challenging President Edgar Lungu to clarify why he appointed Mulenga Sata as State House Deputy Minister against the constitution.
Mr. Chipenzi observed that Mr. Sata’s appointment may be in breach of Article 68 of the constitution on appointments of Ministers and their Deputies.
Mr. Chipenzi argues that the constitution is clear that the President cannot appoint any person as Minister who contested a ward, parliamentary or Presidential election in the same life of Parliament.
But Governance Activist Isaac Mwanza says President Edgar Lungu acted within the law and provisions of Article 68 of Constitution of the Republic of Zambia in nominating and appointing the former Lusaka Mayor, Mulenga Sata as Deputy Minister at State House.
Mr. Mwanza has however noted the need for Mr. Sata to honorably step down as Councillor for Kabulonga Ward since he has ascended to a higher office.
Mr. Mwanza has told QFM News that while it must be noted that the limiting clause under Article 68(3) that seeks to prevent the President from nominating and appointing persons who were “candidate for election in the last preceding general election or in any subsequent by-election” he is of the strong view that the former Mayor was not a candidate in the last general election, but was a candidate in the local government election.
He says he understands that, in his capacity as a Councillor, Mr. Sata is a holder of public office, and is therefore expected to resign as Councillor upon his nomination as a Member of the National Assembly.
The Governance Activist says it must be understood that the reference to “general elections” in Article 68 (3) of the Constitution refers to elections to the National Assembly or parliament, and the elections to the office of President, while elections to the office of Councillor, are held separately as Ordinary elections conducted under a separate Act as quoted above.
He states that the holding of all three elections on the same day and in the same circumstances, is entirely a matter of convenience and cost.
Mr. Mwanza has since called on the Ministry of Justice to learn about the pitfalls of selective amendments to the Constitution and Acts of Parliament which pose difficulties when situations such as these arise.