Who is ruling Zambia?

It is not clear who is performing the functions of President Michael Sata who is an elected leader after his disappearance from public life for close to 60 days, says civil rights activist Brebner Changala.

He said the last thing Zambians wanted to see was to have anybody else apart from President Sata to open Parliament next month as that was the exclusive executive function of the Head of State.

Mr Changala said President Sata was directly elected by the people as Head of State and that Zambians would not accept that the opening of Parliament should be delegated to someone else.

Mr Changala explained that the designers and architects of the Zambian Constitution never contemplated that the nation would not have an incumbent president for more than 90 days and that was why there had never been a constitutional provision of what would happen when a sitting president was absent from duty.

He said according to the constitution, an acting president was not expected to act for more than 90 days and that was why when there was a vacancy in the presidency, by-elections were held within 90 days.

“The scenario we are in is that the President has been missing for close to 60 days and it is not clear who is performing the functions of Head of State and if there is, we do not know under what authority. The last thing Zambians want to see is anybody else to open Parliament as that is a specific preserve of the President who is directly elected by the people to tell his electorate his governing programme,” Mr Changala said.

He said in a democracy, it was a sacred duty for a president to keep in constant touch with citizens through press conferences and public addresses and that President Sata owed Zambians an explanation about his whereabouts.

Mr Changala said that on August 20th 2014, President would have been out for 60 days without communicating to the electorate and that government has failed to provide proof that the Head of State was discharging his functions.

He has called on all members of Parliament both from the opposition and the ruling party to immediately locate President Sata as Vice-President Guy Scott was not elected to perpetually perform presidential functions with the mandate of Zambians.

He has appealed to the Law Association of Zambia to interpret the law regarding the absence of a Head of State from public life for more than 90 days.