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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mwenye can’t be substantive AG before oath – Mulongoti

General News Mwenye can’t be substantive AG before oath – Mulongoti

Mike Mulongoti addressing the media at the conference
Mike Mulongoti addressing the media at the conference

Newly appointed and ratified Attorney General (AG) Musa Mwenye cannot start performing the functions of his office before he takes the Oath of Allegiance by getting sworn in by President Michael Sata, People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti has said.

And the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said it is researching how Mr Mwenye could be asked to start performing the functions of the office of the Attorney General before taking Oath of Allegiance.

Mr Mulongoti said Mr Mwenye needed a formal appointment letter which is only given at the point of being sworn in to begin functioning as the Attorney General.

He said Mr Mwenye could only act as Attorney General for administrative convenience and that he would do so with the authority drawn from his oath of allegiance he took when he was sworn in as Solicitor General.

He told the Daily Nation yesterday that the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mukondo Lungu had made a pretty tricky ruling when he stated that Mr Mwenye could start performing the functions of the Attorney General while waiting to take oath of allegiance.

Making a ruling on a point of order from Choma Central UPND Member of Parliament (MP) Cornelius Mweetwa who wanted to know the legality of the Excess Expenditure Appropriation (2011) Bill due to time lapse and whether Mr Mwenye should have signed the Bill without first being sworn in by President Sata, Mr Lungu said the newly appointed Attorney General could carry on and discharge his functions even before taking Oath of Allegiance.

But Mr Mulongoti said Mr Mwenye could only act for administrative convenience but could not substantively perform the functions of the office of the Attorney General until after a formal appointment letter and taking oath of allegiance.

Mr Mulongoti explained that all government contracts would not be ratified in the absence of the Attorney General and that was why it was critical that such constitutional offices could not be allowed to remain without substantive officer bearers for a long time.

“If the Deputy Speaker was saying that Mr Mwenye can perform his functions as a substantive Attorney General, then that is a pretty tricky situation. For I know about the Constitution, Mr Mwenye need a formal appointment letter and after taking oath of allegiance. If the Deputy Speaker was saying Mr Mwenye could act for administrative convenience, then that is correct because the new AG was initially sworn in as Solicitor General…only on that basis, he can act,” Mr Mulongoti said.

And the Law Association of Zambia says it is studying the legal constitutionality of Mr Mwenye to substantively carry out his functions as Attorney General and that the Association would soon be issuing a comprehensive statement on the matter.

LAZ vice-president Linda Kasonde said LAZ was not going to issue an immediate statement until after the research on whether Mr Mwenye could substantively perform his functions before taking Oath of Allegiance.

“We are researching the matter and we are only going to issue a comprehensive statement after the research. For now, we are not going to say anything,’ Ms Kasonde said.


    • Mike, who scarcely managed to pass his law degree from UNZA, should have quoted the part of the Constitution he is relying on for his arguments. As it is, he is only using logic, if politics, to advance his position because Article 55 of the Constitution, which deals with the appointment of the Solicitor General, simply states that “There shall be a Solicitor General of the Republic whose office shall be a public office and who shall, subject to ratification by Parliament, be appointed by the President”. Where did Mulongoti get the idea that a ratified Solicitor General has to take an Oath of Allegiance before exercising his Constitutional duties? Let us speak because we have something not say, not because we can. The position taken by LAZ, of having a considered opinion, is correct.

    • The man who is supposed to swear them in is around and “Fit”, why not swear them in and avoid all this noise?

    • Section 54 of the Constitution of Zambia seems to be silent on the need for anyone occupying the position of Attorney General to take Oath of Allegiance. It clearly states though that the Speaker, MPs, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Judges and Members of the House of Chiefs must take such Oath of Allegiance before commencing their duties. There may be a legal loophole that has been capitalized on just like was the case with the Acting CJ.

  1. @Mike Mulongoti should have known by now that there is no order in the PF and anything goes.
    The LAZ are a joke, what research are they talking about when some law experts have already said on various forums that it is a requirement to have Musa Mwenye and others sworn in.

    • London Eye, which law ‘experts’ are those? What did they say and where is what they said? I welcome any relevant articles and from any perspective. No debate intended. Just want a better understanding. People like Mulongoti, who carry the tagline ‘Learned Counsel’ should inspire expertise and consensus in their public expressions on (divisive) legal matters. We should be able to tell that it is a lawyer speaking here, not a politician or an uneducated villager like me, using common logic which may mean nothing at law. If one is not a Constitutional lawyer, they should have the magnanimity to leave the subject to their qualified counterparts. It is not every medical doctor who can carry out an operation. Same for lawyers: they have their specialities and will do well to stick to those.

  2. LAZ, what research? And this is supposed to be a body of lawyers with knowledge of constitution on their finger tips!

  3. So the talk about Sata’s whereabouts has fizzled out, no one is interested anymore. But the man is the crucial factor to the smooth running of the nation. Since Sata doesn’t want to come and perform these duties how about taking these officials to wherever he is so he could swear them there? Must the swearing-in only be done at state house?

  4. Mulongoti is a clear example of the victim of chamba smoking no wonder he is ad-vacating for legalization of chamba….. for sure mulongoti is mad with dirty hair and underwear

  5. Politics, A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

  6. Mulongoti; the man without a constituency. Not even pa Ndola can he win, despite his tenure for many a year as an employee at ZCBC!

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