Government has clarified that Cabinet will remain intact after the dissolution of parliament tomorrow until the new President is sworn.
Chief Government Spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili said in an interview that the law is clear and Cabinet has to continue working.
Dr Kambwili added that there is no contention on the matter that needs the interpretation of the Constitutional Court.
He said taking the matter to the Constitutional Court will be tantamount to abuse of the court process.
Dr Kambwili said Article 116(e) supports the continued stay of Ministers until a new President is elected.
“There is no need for a debate here. The constitution in Article 116 is clear, Ministers continue until a new President is sworn in so even as Parliament dissolves, Ministers continue,” Dr Kambwili said.
However, Law Association of Zambia(LAZ) President Linda Kasonde has said that only the Vice President and not cabinet ministers will be eligible to hold office when parliament dissolves. Ms said that Ministers will no longer qualify to hold their positions after parliament dissolves.
Ms Kasonde said that on reading Article 116(1) together with Article 72(1) of the constitution, LAZ is of the view that once Parliament has been dissolved, a Minister appointed from the members of parliament or a nominated MP no longer qualified to hold the position of Minister.
Ms Kasonde said that it was a constitutional requirement for a person to hold the position of Minister under Article 116(1) of the constitution that he or she must be a member of parliament.
She further stated that in LAZ’s opinion, Article 116(1) as read together with Article 72 of the constitution implies that a Minister vacates office when parliament dissolves,whereas Article 116(1) of the constitution refers to a situation where a Minister vacates office within the life of parliament.
Ms Kasonde explained that with regards the status of the vice president, Article 111(2) states that a vice president shall hold office from the date the vice president-elect is sworn into office and ending on the date the next president-elect is sworn into office, stating that LAZ is therefore of the view that the vice-president should continue in office until the next president-elect is sworn into office.
Ms Kasonde said that LAZ will be taking the matter to the Constitutional court for determination in light of government’s position that Ministers will continue in office after the dissolution of parliament.
And Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula said that the Law Association of Zambia was at liberty to seek a court interpretation over the status of Cabinet Ministers after the dissolution of parliament.
Dr Simbyakula said that LAZ had the right to seek legal redress and that government cannot stop the legal body from proceeding with their plan.
And YALI Governance Adviser Isaac Mwanza said there is need for the Constitutional Court to help interpret a clause in the amended constitution which allows Ministers to remain in office after the dissolution of Parliament.
“We need to do more thinking about the status of Ministers after Parliament remains dissolved. The Constitution is very clear that Ministers are appointed from among Members of Parliament or from nominated MPs. So, when Parliament is dissolved, it means the country has no Members of Parliament until the next set of MPs are sworn in. So, logically though law is never about logic per se, if one got employed because he was an MP, he must cease to be one when he ceases to exist as an MP,” Mr Mwanza said.