CHISHIMBA Kambwili has said that President Edgar Lungu must be made to pay back all the salaries and allowances his ministers received after parliament was dissolved ahead of last year’s general elections because he is the one who forced them to stay in office illegally.
The Constitutional Court on Friday maintained that the 64 ministers who stayed in office after Parliament was dissolved last year must pay back the money they were receiving during the period they illegally occupied their positions.
Mr Kambwili, the Roan PF member of parliament who served as Information Minister said that he respected the Constitutional Court’s decision but that it was President Lungu who should be made to pay for forcing the ministers to stay in office against constitutional provisions.
Mr Kambwili said maintained that President Lungu misled his ministers and should therefore “bite the bullet” and pay because he was the one who issued the directive to them.
“I respect the ruling of the ConCourt but speaking on behalf of the ministers, it should be President Edgar Lungu who should be able to pay back because ministers did not remain in office by themselves; they were instructed by the appointing authority. And the appointing authority at that time was the President Lungu,” Kambwili said.
Mr Kambwili demanded that gratuity be paid to the affected ministers as they had rendered a service to the Zambian people but maintained that no one stayed in office on their own accord but through a directive from President Lungu.
“No Minister decided in his individual capacity that they should remain in office; we were directed by the Head of State and if the Head of State misdirected us, he should bear the consequences, so it should be President Edgar Lungu to pay and not the ministers. In any case, as ministers, we demand that they pay the gratuity for those four months because we worked; there is no one who gives a service for nothing. I was leaving to go to work and attend to government activities, that was not for free, I cannot do it for free,” Kambwili said.
“In that four months, I could have done my own things that could have made a difference in my life but I had to stick in my office and do government work. I deserve to be paid my gratuity for the four months and those payments must be settled by State House and not the Minister.”
He said it would be unfair to ask ministers to pay the money when they had not forced their stay in office.
“It will be very, very unfair to ask individual Ministers to pay because we did not remain in office on our own, we remained in office by virtue of an instruction from the Head of State who boasts to be a lawyer and a renowned lawyer, according to himself. So if he is a lawyer worth the salt, he should bite the bullet for misinforming and misdirecting Cabinet, that’s what I can say. I respect the decision of the court. We should not be seen to be disagreeing with the decisions of the court but all I am saying is that it should be President Edgar Lungu to pay back,” said Kambwili