Government has clarified that the K2 million allocated towards consultations on whether Zambia should leave or remain a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is from the 2017 national budget.
Justice Minister Given Lubinda says the money is part of the allocation approved by Parliament in the contingency budget, which is money set aside to cover unexpected costs.
Mr. Lubinda says those questioning the source of the K2 million do not understand the budgeting process.
Given Lubinda 2In an interview with QTV News by telephone, Mr. Lubinda says anyone who understands this process would have known that the K2 million could only have come from the contingency budget.
Mr. Lubinda states that this is in fact the purpose of a contingency budget that monies in the national budget are reserved for expenditure on unforeseen costs to government.
He adds that those arguing that the K2 million is an unplanned expenditure should also understand that it was not possible for government to plan for something it did not foresee.
Mr. Lubinda says the issue on whether Zambia should pull out from the ICC or not only came up in January and therefore could not have been considered in the 2017 national budget that was planned in October.
Meanwhile, the Non Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has said that it is deeply saddened by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s decision to spend K2 million aimed at consulting “Zambians” as to whether the country should pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a statement released to the media and signed by the chairperson Sara Longwe, NGOCC said that the allocation of the K2 million by the Government is irresponsible and a clear sign of the depth of detachment by the PF from the people that voted for them. Given the over-stretched treasury, it is irresponsible for the Government to spend on a non issue. The issue of Zambia belonging to the ICC or withdrawing cannot warrant this kind of expenditure.
“Instead of wasting these resources, the Government should instead use the K2 million as part of the resources for holding of the National Referendum to ensure that the expanded Bill of Rights are included in the amended Constitution,” read the statement.
“On behalf of the women’s movement we believe there are more pressing issues such as completing the education and health infrastructure that the Government should focus on other than chasing the wind on issues to do with the ICC. In any case why is the Government now reconsidering the country’s affiliation to the ICC? The ongoing consultation is ill advised and a sheer waste of the merger resources.”
“We therefore expect President Edgar Lungu to immediately halt this exercise and channel the K2 million to more needy areas,” concluded the statement.