‘Speaker should own up on Mutembo Nchito’

PF’s desire to dominate every arm of government is beginning to create governance challenges and making it difficult to administer justice without officers finding themselves compromised at every turn, says civil rights activist Brebner Changala

Mr Changala said therefore matters raised by former Solwezi Central MP. Lucky Mulusa in his letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, challenging him to prosecute Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito for lying to Parliament during his ratification process were serious.

He said the issues raised by Mr Mulusa deserved serious attention by Parliament in order to protect its own integrity and preserve Zambia’s governance system to foster development.

“It will be interesting to see how the Speaker will proceed in this matter given his close association with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mutembo Nchito and the Speaker’s initial inability to recuse himself in the process of Nchito’s ratification.

“We need to understand why judges recuse themselves whenever a matter comes up that has to do with a person they know. Yet as Speaker, one can still preside over matters in which one is clearly conflicted,” said Mr Changala.  He said it was important to establish whether the Speaker should have presided over matters concerning Mr Nchito given the fact that there were now glaring reasons why the DPP so badly wanted the job in the first place.

Mr Changala said Cap 12 provided that any person who before the Assembly or any authorized committee intentionally gives a false answer to any question material to the subject of inquiry which may be put to him during the course of any examination shall be guilty of an offence against section 104 of the Penal Code.

“ Mr Nchito did indeed provide that false evidence, this same law provides that the DPP is the only one who can make the decision to prosecute the offender and that the Speaker should be the one to inform him that there is an offender on the loose,” he said

The law also provided that evidence of proceedings in Assembly or committee cannot be given anywhere without leave.

“The Speaker of the National Assembly of Zambia is the authority that grants such leave. In this case, Mr Nchito is the offender and the Speaker is compromised in the sense that he is a personal friend and former/business partner of Mr Mutembo Nchito. Who will save the nation?” asked Mr Changala Mr Changala said it was clear that the piece of legislation has closed avenues for recourse when it says “No prosecution shall be instituted for an offence under this Act except by the Director of Public Prosecutions upon information given to him in writing by the Speaker.”

He said therefore it would be miscarriage of justice to allow Mr Speaker to have anything to do with this case that involved his close friend and former business associate.

“Both the Speaker and the DPP are disqualified in finding a solution to the issues raised by Mr. Mulusa. We cannot however let it pass just because of the self-defeating provisions in the law.

The issue here is for Parliament to resolve his having misled the Committee on a fundamental point which if he had represented himself correctly, would not have been recommended for ratification and the House would not have ratified him either.