Musa Mwenye must resign

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Musa Mwenye must resign immediately for deliberately lying to the nation and misleading Cabinet by setting as precedence that former defence minister George Mpombo was acting president when president Levy Mwanawasa died on August 19 2008.

And former special assistant to the president-policy and project implementation and monitoring Jack Kalala has said claims by Mr Mwenye that Mr Mpombo was acting president when president Mwanawasa died in France were not true.

Mr Kalala said the only role Mr Mpombo played during the time was to lead other ministers in seeing off president Mwanawasa to Egypt as well as acting as leader of Government business in Parliament.

Civil rights activist Brebener Changala said Mr Mwenye abused public trust and had committed unprecedented malfeasance of office in Zambia’s legal history and that the most honourable course of action was for him (Mwenye) to resign.

Mr Changala has charged that the current manuevouring over power was intended for the cartel to manipulate State power to their advantage.

He said the cartel was manuevouring to install a leader who would repudiate their huge financial obligations so that they could not pay back the debts they owe Zambians Mr Changala said Defence and Justice Minister Edgar Lungu was anointed and ordained by President Michael Sata who was democratically elected by Zambians and could therefore not be deposed by a constitutionally and factually flawed opinion of  the Attorney General.

“It goes without saying that Edgar Lungu was on firm ground constitutionally and factually to take over power for 90 days after the demise of President Sata. Mr Lungu was anointed and ordained by a democratically elected President and could not be deposed by constitutionally, and factually flawed opinion of lying Attorney General in the name of Musa Mwenye. Mr Mwenye has abused public trust and has committed malfeasance of office by giving wrong advice and cheating the nation that Mr Mpombo was acting president when Mwanawasa died on August 18th 2008 and the honourable thing to do is to resign,” Mr Changala said.

Mr Changala said President Sata exercised powers vested in him by article 39 of the Constitution to appoint delegate Mr Lungu to perform the functions of the office of the President and the Head of State’s decision could therefore not be overruled by Cabinet.

And Mr Changala has stated that article 34 (3) of the Constitution bars Acting President Scott from contesting the presidency because the law demands that for one to qualify to stand as president, both parents are supposed to be Zambians by birth or decent. He said the philosophy underlying the provision of article 34 (3) was that a president or anybody exercising the functions of the office of President should have total loyalty to the country as Commander in-chief of the armed forces.

“The marginal notes to article 38 are vacancy in the office of the President. The questions that beg the answers are: Was there a vacancy when Mr Lungu was Acting President? The answer is no. Can a person disqualified by article 35 of the Constitution exercise presidential functions? The answer is no,” Mr Changala said. He stated that Mr Lungu was constitutionally and factually on firm ground to take over power after the demise of President Sata because he (Lungu) was legally the anointed by the late Head of State to perform the functions of the office of President.

On Friday last week, Mr Mwenye told the nation that there was precedence that when president Levy Mwanawasa died in France in August 2008, Mr Mpombo, who was the minister of defence at the time was acting president.

Mr Mwenye in his statement also claimed that after the death of president Mwanawasa, former president Rupiah Banda who was the vice-president at the time was given the instruments of power by Mr Mpombo. But the Daily Nation has revealed that late president Mwanawasa had delegated the functions of the office of president to then vice-president Banda when he left for Egypt on Saturday, June 28th 2008 and that at the time, he (Mwanawasa) was dying on 19th August, Mr Mpombo was not the acting president. According to Government Gazette number 307 of 2008, president Mwanawasa delegated the functions of president to Mr Banda under article 39 (1) of the Constitution, the same article under which president Sata appointed Mr Lungu to act as President.

He added that Cabinet could not meaningfully debate the articles on the delegation of presidential powers shortly after receiving the shocking news of the death of President Sata and were thus misled. Cabinet, he said had suffered from sleep deprivation and were ambushed when Mr Lungu was threatened with treason if he was going to continue performing the functions of the office of President delegated to him by late President Sata.