Constitutional democracy

The prevailing leadership impasse must be resolved quickly.

We are very disappointed that the statement by the Attorney General  in support of the position Government has taken was wrong and untrue. This is unfortunate because Public officers must research their facts before presenting them for public consumption.

The fact that the Government legal advisor got his facts wrong, over the “Mpombo” acting position casts an even greater pall over the matter. We are not against Acting President Dr. Guy Scott who we believe is following legal advice from experts.

As a constitutional democracy our conduct must at all times be in consonance with the written law and where we depart strict counsel and remedy must prevail.

That is why we agree that if Cabinet and the  Patriotic Front Central Committee do not reverse their action then the courts of law must intervene in the impasse over the Edgar Lungu power handover, failure of  courts must be approached for a legal interpretation.

Purely on account of common knowledge it seems unseemly that an acting President appointed under a constitutional provision by the substantive President should hand over power to the Vice President. This is counter intuitive.

President Michael Sata was very well within the law when he handed power to Edgar Lungu whom he found to be capable of handling the office of President. He did not find the Vice President equally suited for the task.

If anything the Constitution provides two grounds on which the President may by-pass the Vice to give power to a person other than the Vice President. 

The first is when the Vice President is absent from Zambia, the second, according to the Constitution, is   when the Vice President..” is incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President”.

Since President Sata did not at any time ask the Vice President to act as President, we can safely assume that he found him incapable of discharging the function of the office of President.

Attorney-General Musa Mwenye must address himself to these issues before rushing to article 38 of the Constitution which would seem to give the Vice President powers    to act automatically.

These matters are very important, not just to the Patriotic Front but indeed for the rest of the nation because the acting President represents national authority that transcends the narrow divide of parties or indeed other interest groups.

That is why this matter must be resolved so that conflict between the two articles is put to rest and the people assured that power is in the right hands.

Indeed PF Secretary General Edgar Lungu must be acknowledged for his magnanimity in accepting to hand over power even when he should have stood his ground because by virtue of his position as constitutionally appointed Acting President , he enjoyed the same power as the President.

For the sake of posterity this matter must be resolved.