Sata ‘power’ handover questioned

Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska must clearly state whether he prepared the letter of transfer of the instruments of power for President Michael Sata to formerly hand over power to Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba.

But Dr Msiska has refused to comment charging that although it was his responsibility to perform such constitutional functions, he was not going to state whether he did or not.

People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti has warned that it was treasonable for anyone to take over power without authority.

He said it had become imperative that Dr Msiska tells the nation if Mr Kabimba who is Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general was formerly given the instruments of power by President Sata before leaving for Israel for medical treatment.

Mr Mulongoti said if there was a breach in the procedure on how the handover of power was done, it was likely that Mr Kabimba could have committed a treasonable offence of usurping power from a legitimately elected President.

He told the Daily Nation that the correct procedure of handing over power to the acting President was that the Secretary to the Cabinet prepares the letter, deliver to the President and witness the signing of the document.

Mr Mulongoti said the systems and procedures were established for the purposes of ensuring order and lawful conduct by those who were appointed constitutionally to perfume smooth governance functions.

The letter of transfer of power each time the President was leaving the country was done on a special paper that is kept in the Secretary to the Cabinet office and is often prepared by Dr Msiska and his two secretaries.

On June 20, 2014, in the still of the night, President Michael Sata left for Israel and government was forced to announce the arrival of the Head of State in Tel Aviv after the nation woke up to a flood of rumours that the President had been evacuated.

And a week after President Sata left the country, the country has yet again been chocked with speculation that the Head of State did not hand over power to Mr Kabimba who is acting President because the Secretary to the Cabinet did not prepare the letter of the transfer of power.

When contacted for a comment, Dr Msiska refused to comment charging that although it was his responsibility to perform such constitutional functions, he was not going to state whether he did or not.

“We have systems in this country and we cannot be making systems and breaking them. Without being rude, I do not want to comment on this matter because government has an official spokesperson who is the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Call him and I will ask him that you will be calling. That is the best you can do if you want to help this country. I am a man of procedure,’ Dr Msiska said.

Dr Joseph Katema when contacted said he was unable to speak because he was in church.

But Mr Mulongoti has charged that it would be irresponsible for Dr Msiska to refuse to tell the nation if the transfer of power was done according to the provisions of the constitution.

“Zambians are asking if President Sata was in a stable mental state to formerly perform a handover ceremony before he left for Israel and that it is the responsibility of the Secretary to the Cabinet to inform the nation. And if the President was in a state called diminished responsibility because of his state of health at the time he was leaving, then it was not possible for him to have performed such a constitutional function. If established that he was in diminished responsibility and could not perform that constitutional exercise, then we would be interested to know how Mr Kabimba acquired the instruments of power and it is Dr Msiska who must clear the doubts,” Mr Mulongoti said.

He observed that it would appear that the people in authority had a lot to cover up and that was why they were acting angrily to concerns by Zambians wanting to find out the true and correct health status of the President Sata.

Mr Mulongoti said accusing the Daily Nation and online media such as the Zambian Watchdog of malicious reporting was not going to help stop the speculation that there was a breach in the transfer of power to the acting President.

The People’s Party leader said Zambians were avoiding a situation where precedence would be created where masqueraders would usurp power and ignore the provisions of the Constitution.

“We are not against any individual but we are trying to avoid creating a precedence where masqueraders can usurp power and ignore the provisions of the Constitution. We demand that power must be transferred in a lawful and orderly manner so that those who ascend to power with clean hands can be respected and supported. We have heard of the cartel and we hope this is not the work of the said cartel,” Mr Mulongoti said.

He stated that the current and never-ending speculation that Mr Kabimba could be illegally acting as President were making Zambians feel short-changed warning that such could be a recipe for anarchy and disloyalty. Mr Mulongoti said there was a danger that people would begin to refuse to take instructions from authorities they strongly believe they obtained power through fraudulent means.

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3 Responses to “Sata ‘power’ handover questioned”

  1. Rackba says:

    The situation in Zambia is not far from that of Ukraine and such maneuvers are difficult to correct. Mr. Kabimba must apologize to the people of Zambia if indeed he was not handed over power because time will come when no one will back him. Mr. Kabimba has been mentioned in the media on so many occassions including visiting questionable countries in the recent past. He must remember that he is new in PF and those that worked for so long will not allow him to pose as acting President. I strongly hope that Kabimba should listen before its too late.

  2. Ngombala Muhapi wa Linaha says:

    In as much as I revile Kabimba, I also believe Mike should be the last person to comment on such matters. Firstly, was Mulongoti not the silly MMD singing canary monkey that deafened our ears with songs of Levy recovering well and jogging in Avenue des Champs-Élysées when he was actually breathing his last? Secondly, Mike failed his bar exams many times and he to date is not admitted to the bar, so if I wanted advise on constitutional matters, I would rather listen to constitutional legal minds of note such as Mvunga or Chongwe, not a silly cheeky fool like Mike.

  3. Ngombala Muhapi wa Linaha says:

    Had I been Kabimba, I would drag Mulongoti to court for being malicious, alarmist and stupid. I honestly think there is a tribalistic and jealousy angle to all this noise. They are not happy that a Tonga man is acting president. We all no Sata has been sick even before he became president and every time he left the country and left power with Chikwanda, Lungu or whoever, it was not a problem. But now that someone from the Kaonde/Lozi/Tonga group is appointed, all hell breaks loose and stupid imbeciles like Mike want to stir up a coup d’état by claiming transfer of power was not properly done!