-LAZ explains AG’s status

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The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says there is no provision in the constitution that requires an appointed Attorney General or Solicitor General to take Oath after ratification by parliament.

LAZ Vice President Linda Kasonde said the only requirement that the constitution provides is that the appointment has to be ratified by parliament.

Ms. Kasonde however stated in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today that both offices are constitutional offices and therefore are public offices.

She said this means that the two offices are accountable to the public and should preserve the sanctity of the constitution.

Ms Kasonde added that it was also important to note that the Oath of a person who sits in Cabinet is vital and mandatory because Cabinet, in the conduct of its business, is guided by three principles.

Ms. Kasonde said the principals include collective responsibility, confidentiality and declaration of interest.

She said evidently, an oath is necessary if Cabinet functions are to be discharged in light of the three principles.

She however stated that even though the Constitution of Zambia does not provide for the taking of Oath when the Attorney General and Solicitor General are appointed, by convention it is mandatory for such appointed persons to take oath for the appointment to be valid and complete.

Ms. Kasonde explained that according to Section 8 of the official Oaths Act, if a person has taken an Oath for a particular office and subsequently appointed to another office, such a person need not take another Oath if the Oath he is required to take for the new office is the same as the one taken for the previous office.

She said in this regard, since the Oath taken by an Attorney General and a Solicitor General are the same, adding that if the current appointed Attorney General took an oath of office as Solicitor General, he need not take another Oath for the position of Attorney General.

She said that being the case, the current appointed Attorney General does hold the substantive office validly and can subsequently exercise his duties as such.

Ms. Kasonde however stated that on the other hand, a newly appointed Solicitor General needs to take an Oath of office before he starts discharging the functions that office if he has not taken a similar oath previously.