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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

What the Zambian constitution says about the Presidency during absence, illness, etc.

Headlines What the Zambian constitution says about the Presidency during absence, illness, etc.

IPresident Sata with First Lady Dr Kaseba boards plane in Addis-1894

39. Discharge of functions of President during absence, illness, etc.

(1) Whenever the President is absent from Zambia or considers it desirable so to do by reason of illness or for any other cause, he may by direction in writing, authorise the Vice-President, or where the Vice-President is absent from Zambia or incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President, any other person, to discharge such functions of the office of President as he may specify, and the Vice-President or such other person may discharge those functions until his authority is revoked by the President.

(2) If the President is incapable by reason of physical or mental infirmity of discharging the functions of his office and the infirmity is of such a nature that the President is unable to authorize another person under this Article to perform those functions —
(a) the Vice-President; or
(b) during any period when the Vice-President is absent from Zambia or is himself, by reason of physical or mental infirmity, unable to perform the functions of his office, such member of the Cabinet as the Cabinet shall elect;
shall perform the functions of the office of President:
Provided that any person performing the functions of the office of President under this clause shall not dissolve the National Assembly nor, except on the advice of the Cabinet, revoke any appointment made by the President.

(3) Any person performing the functions of the office of President by virtue of clause (2) shall cease to perform those functions if he is notified by the Speaker that the President is about to resume those functions or if another person is elected as, and assumes the office of, President.

(4) For the purpose of clause (2), a certificate of the Chief Justice that —

(a) the President is incapable by reason of physical or mental infirmity of discharging the functions of his office and that the infirmity is of such a nature that the President is unable to authorise another person under this Article to perform those functions; or

(b) the Vice-President is by reason of physical or mental infirmity unable to discharge the functions of his office:
shall be of no effect until such certificate is verified by the National Assembly:

Provided that any such certificate as is referred to in paragraph (a) shall cease to have effect if the President notifies any person under clause (3) that he is about to resume the functions of the office of the President or if another person is elected as, and assumes the office of, President.

[Read 167 times, 1 reads today]


  1. Why this article, is this a sign that HE is not coming back, or he wont be capable of discharging his functions ever?????

    • The President is absent due to illness despite governments lies.This is not Zambia’s first rodeo with a sick and dying president- we know the drill,..knowledge is power.

    • @pf:
      I thought some people were questioning the appointment of Mr. Kabimba as Acting President? This article provides an adequate answer, doesn’t it?

    • The sun is setting, gay pride flags wave next to the water, same-sex couples kiss and cuddle on the beach. This is Tel Aviv — which the government of Israel is now pushing as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world — and gay tourism is booming.

    • The government of Israel is styling the country as a haven for the gay community. But it’s more than just beaches, parades and clubs. Israel has laws protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community.

  2. 1. Guy scott should not be vice president in the first place.His appointment to that position is illegal and was meant to hoodwink Zambians in 2011 into thinking Sata had a reasonable vice president.
    2.When did Cabinet elect to have Kabimba act since we know the president was mentally incapacitated at the time of his departure.
    3. Where is the certificate that was verified by National assembly according to Article 39 section 4

    • Bwana, just because ZWD tells you that the President was incapacitated does NOT make so. Neither is people’s conjectures proof/evidence enough on which to base National decisions that have serious national security implications. Only qualified medical doctors can declare someone medically incapable to perform presidential duties. And there is a process for that. Calm down people, your time (if God wills) to rule this beautiful country of ours will come.

      By the way, where does the Constitution say people like VP Guy Scott can never be appointed vice-president? The Constitution only prohibits Mr. Scott from becoming President of the republic—which is a silly conundrum created by our current Constitution. But there is nothing illegal about Guy Scott occupying that position.

    • @Yambayamba , why doesn’t your government prove that Sata is in good health by presenting him over his Facebook page.?. It was $tupiti of your government to let the guy sneak out of the country like a thief. Sata is ill. Just accept it.

  3. KABIMBA IS THERE TO STAY..SO BEMBAS MWAPYA!Alamipwa one by one starting from Kambwili,and also ka Jean kapata kali pa firing line

    • Why do yo like talking about bembas all the time!we have no problem with any man or woman being president.its just that you tongas have built a dislike for us,for the mis information given to you by your grand parents.Bembas didnt tell nkumbula to womanise in the uk and forget is core duty of being first president of zambia.You have created a needless war with bembas which consumes you.Bembas dont hate tongas.

  4. “…he may by direction in writing, authorise the VICE-PRESIDENT, or where the Vice-President is absent from Zambia or incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President, ANY OTHER PERSON, to discharge such functions of the office of President as he may specify…”

    Well, there goes our leaky Constitution. First off, the Constitution does NOT say the President cannot make someone who can’t be President under our Constitution his Vice-President. The same Constitutions turns around and excludes people like the current VP from becoming Zambian President by virtue of his parents’ citizenship status. Again, the same Constitution fails to stipulate whether “ANY OTHER PERSON” means an elected member of the Cabinet. In fact, s/he can even be a fishmonger from Mongu. Wow!

  5. At the moment, Kabimba is the only one in PF ready to take on HH. Lets not be tribal, he is our best chance.

  6. It has been very interesting now every Zambian is reading law. Good gesture indeed for this will liberate us from future epoches like this. Zambians need unit in times like this to avoid frame the country into chaos. Things are not okay in Zambia right now. We have non appointed Chief Justice, a ceremonial Vice President and an acting President without people`s Mandate to Parliament. I hope we shall not end up like Malawi. God bless Zambia and its people pour grace as the road look doomed right now because of power struggle.

  7. How did Kabimba get hold of instruments of power since the president was demented and unconscious at the time?

    • The ka ma man has committed treason! He has usurped power by illegal means. He has succeeded were Captain solo failed.

  8. to my fellow Zambians, do not elect another old person for a President again. this time we need a young and educated leader. Elias Chipimo welcome to state house. to the elders we shall still come to you for advice.

  9. This article is straight foward so let the Cabinet convine and elect the Acting President since KABIMBA was not given the authority and after electing another person to act KABIMBA should be arrested for treason for taking power by force. Plz u Cabinet Ministers save this country from the cartel of MEMBE, NCHITO AND MATIBINI by doing the right thing, Mulongoti has helped u to start the debate so move in by surmoning MSISKA to a urgent Cabinet meeting to tel what knows on this serious issue actually he should show the nation the letter of authority letter signed by SATA, he should not play politics here

  10. Mulongoti is looking for an opportunity which appears to ave presented itself on this ocassion.

  11. What sort of constitution is this? A monkey driven constitution indeed. The point is, why is Guy Scott even vice president in the first place if HE can ynever act as president? Its such a shame but itsnow clear what Sata’s intentions where from the beginning. To have complete control and do as he please…with or without the constitution. Those bane, are clear traits of a DICTATOR. We told you *****s in 2011 with your dont kubeba useless chants.

  12. Doctors have refused to operate on Sata in order to give him a donor kidney, the family is furious, they want to fly him out of Tel Aviv, what next, latest from Tel Aviv, can the Government give its position on this sad state of affairs.

  13. I am surprised to note that, some of the people on this media who claim to be very,very educated and well informed are actually very ignorant of simple issues. Why is Kabimba acting President? The answer lies in the 1st paragraph of the article. The 1st paragraph explains everything, even me a grade seven can grasp some sense from it. In grade seven we were told to read the article or story first ,before you attempt to do ( can you remember) exercise. What am seeing here is people don’t read all they do is have a glance at the headline and straight go into bluffing like rabid dogs without reason. Ask Almighty God to tame your loose and poisonus tongues, for tomorrow doesn’t belong to you. With or without Sata Zambia will always exist and has been there even before him. Check yourself.

  14. Well said kapoma Me too I can read where it clearly says vice in almost every line , Vice President is mentioned everywhere because he is the second man in charge so why is Kabimba acting and is there something wrong with Guy Scott, so many unanswered questions, where is the real proof instead of cheap talk, if they can hide the president’s healthy, they surely can hide what really happened since we were not there, people are too smart now let government produce hand over letter and we will bring on experts to examine that document

  15. What a “working holiday”! Maybe we should let this matter rest for”as long as it takes”, after all the truth will always come out.

  16. Very impressive LT, that you are able to go beyond the story and bring useful information that allows us to debate from a place of information. Going by the first para, it is clear that Mulongoti had a point in asking the question about the official handover process, it has to be done in writing. There is nothing wrong with Wynter Kabimba acting, as long as the president has given clear instructions through an official letter that he was appointed to carry out the functions of that office. The issue at hand is that no one seems to have seen the letter and the rumours about WK’s attempt to convene a cabinet meeting may be true as it was reported that cabinet ministers refused to show up because they have not been officially notified. Dr. Msiska, please produce the letter and put us at…

  17. Dr. Msiska, please produce the letter and put the nation at ease. Life does not have to be so complicated. The PF Government have mishandled a situation that could have easily been resolved through some clear and consistent messaging.

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