This is Part 2 of my comment on the just ended Golden Jubilee celebration in Zambia. It was drafted a week ago but interrupted by my “Apology to Lusaka Times Bloggers”. The articles are intended to put the just ended Zambian “Golden Jubilee” in perspective as I believe that the occasion that should have been used to seriously re-look at our independence journey and seriously take stock of national issues turned out to be a “celebration” as advertised, entertainment instead of a deep national reflection. Leadership has been lacking during this Jubilee season. Part 2 was to dwell on Governance, with focus on the Judiciary, the Executive and Parliament and to express an opinion on why President Sata did NOT allow his appointed Vice President to act as President.
Unfortunately as I was about to post this Part there was another interruption brought on by “breaking news” first from a series of sms’s from all over, then ZWD, LT, SABC and our own MUVI TV. I am compelled to amend Part 2 to be in two parts, namely this one which I now title “Golden Jubilee 2 the Preface” and “Golden Jubilee 2 the Main Discussion”.
Guy Scott does not qualify to act
The thrust of this specific argument is still on the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism. Part of the “breaking news” states that Cabinet has appointed Dr Guy Scott as Acting President. It is my contention that Dr Guy Scott does NOT qualify to be President of Zambia under the current Constitution; and further that in view of this he does NOT qualify even to be appointed Vice President. I contend that the position of Republican President is ONE office comprising two tiers for purposes of continuity (the President and HIS VICE).
It is ridiculous or laughable to suggest that a person who does not qualify to be President or, more accurately, is estopped expressly by the Constitution from ascending to the highest strategic office in Zambia, can be allowed to act in that capacity. President Sata’s act to appoint Dr Scott was either due to an oversight, ignorance or was under duress. President Sata may have realised the error but could not admit this publicly and sort to correct it by NOT allowing Dr Scott to act.
President Sata may have realised the error and sort to correct it by NOT allowing Dr Scott to act.
Dr Scott has given two statements on his appointment: first in 2011 or early 2012 he revealed that he knew that he was not qualified due to the parentage clause, which he declared was going to be changed anyway. However he went on to reveal that at a high-powered meeting (PF and/or Cabinet) attended by powerful lawyers he said that he was advised that he qualified to be appointed Vice President but not President. Sometime this year he declared that he qualified to be President. He cited no provisions of the law, and neither did he disclose who his lawyer-consultants were. Are they the same ones who gave him the first opinion or they are different or has there been a secret amendment? I challenge them to appear publicly and debate this serious constitutional issue.
Article 33 (1) states that “there shall be a President of the Republic of Zambia who shall be the Head of State and of the Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force”. Article 34 (3) (b) states that “A person SHALL be qualified to be a candidate for election as President if ‘both his parents are Zambian by birth or descent’ ”, a very clear provision which has first to be amended if Dr Scott is to qualify.
It appears that the President relied on Article 45 (2) which states that “The Vice President shall be appointed by the President from amongst the members of the National Assembly”. I contend that this clause should NOT be read in isolation but with Article 34 (3) (b). In fact the whole of Article 45 should be read with Articles 33 and 34 in mind.
When I wrote “Golden Jubilee 1” I was concerned about the serious constitutional impasse that would arise and that seems to have arisen should the President pass on. I shall publish the remaining Part 2 later.
But I now urge the Cabinet to dump “Donchi Kubeba” and be truthful and engage even other citizens who may not be PF during this uncertain period for a smooth transition. But I declare that Dr Scott DOES NOT QUALIFY TO BE VICE PRESIDENT, LET ALONE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA.
Let us pray for peace and tranquillity. May God bless Zambia.
[29TH OCTOBER 2014]
Postscript: at about 08.35 hours Zambian time, as I was about to post this article, there was another interruption on ZNBC TV. Dr Roland Msiska, the Secretary to the Cabinet, has just confirmed the death of our President in London. My advance condolences.