THE Patriotic Front (PF) as a party and Cabinet must own up and respect President Michael Sata’s decision to appoint Edgar Lungu as Acting President because it was well founded in law.
It is demeaning that a person President Sata handed power to should be made to hand it over to the Vice-President, civil rights activist Brebner Changala has said.
Under article 39 (1) of the Constitution, the President can authorize the Vice-President and if the Vice-President is incapable of discharging the functions of the office of the President, any other person can be appointed to discharge the functions of office of President until his authority is revoked by the President.
And Attorney-General Musa Mwenye has been given 48 hours in which to produce a Government Gazette in which former president Levy Mwanawasa delegated the instruments of power to former defence minister George Mpombo.
Civil rights activist Brebner Changala said at no time did President Sata want to have Dr Scott act as President because, according to the Constitution, the Vice-President could not be entrusted with the instruments of power because he was incapable.
Mr Changala said it was surprising that Mr Mwenye could claim that Dr Scott was legally acting as President after the death of President Sata, adding that had Mr Mwenye been sincere, he would have advised President Sata to appoint Dr Scott to act as President when he was still alive.
He said Mr Mwenye should not have waited until the death of President Sata to tell Zambians Dr Scott was capable of acting as President.
“President Sata had all the opportunities to appoint Dr Scott to act as President but for all the good reasons, he avoided appointing him (Scott). Mr Mwenye did not want to advise President Sata when he was alive and now he should tell us that the Vice President can act as President. What has changed? Mr Changala said.
And Mr Changala has called for the immediate resignation of Mr Mwenye for deliberately misleading Cabinet and bluntly lying to Zambians that Dr Mwanawasa appointed Mr Mpombo as acting president when he left for Egypt in August 2007.
Mr Mwenye said this on Friday when he justified the appointment of Dr Scott as Acting President and forced then Acting President Edgar Lungu to hand over the instruments of power to the Vice-President, an action that has been widely condemned.
On June 16th 2011, then vice-president George Kunda dispelled assertions that late president Mwanawasa delegated the instruments of power to Mr Mpombo who at the time was defence minister. Mr Kunda, who has since died, told Parliament on June 16, 2011 that according to Gazette number 307 of 2008, Dr Mwanawasa delegated the functions of the presidency to former president Rupiah Banda who was at the time vice-president.
But Mr Mwenye in his statement on Friday last week claimed that when late president Mwanawasa died, Mr Mpombo was the acting president, a claim Mr Changala has rubbished with contempt because Mr Banda became acting president soon after president Mwanawasa left for Egypt.
Mr Changala said both president Banda and former secretary to Cabinet Joshua Kanganja were in Government during the last days of president Mwanawasa and could be consulted if Mr Mwenye was not sure about what happened.
He stated that late president Mwanawasa left for Egypt on Saturday June 28th and that Mr Banda who was the vice president was in Chipata for the funeral of his mother.
He recalled that Mr Banda returned to Lusaka and was on Monday, June 30th 2008, in office as acting president and that Mr Mwenye was aware about the events but deliberately chose to milead the nation because he was allegedly serving the interest of the cartel. “I am giving Mr Mwenye 48 hours in which to produce and cause to be published a Gazette in which late president Mwanawasa delegated the instruments of power to Mr Mpombo. To the best of my knowledge, Dr Mwanawasa left for Egypt on Saturday August June 28th 2008. On Monday, June 30st, Mr Banda was in the office as acting president and it is therefore criminal for Mr Mwenye to lie that Mr Mpombo was acting president when Mwanawasa died.
He said the hatred the cartel had been propagating against senior and prominent citizens and the crusade to assassinate characters of respectable citizens was unacceptable and should be rejected with contempt.
Mr Changala said in recent weeks, Zambians had been subjected to hate and slander against Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda and Defence and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu for on no reason other than executing their mandate in the governance of the country.