- SERIES 1: IMPEACHMENT MOTION: President Lungu To Be Impeached For Debt Which Parliament Approved
- SERIES 2: IMPEACHMENT MOTION – Did Government break financial regulations and the law on the monies from Mukula logs?
- SERIES 3: IMPEACHMENT MOTION – Is The Frustrated Fire Tender Petition a Basis for Members of Parliament to impeach the President?
By Isaac Mwanza
Shortly before the South African Parliament was to pass a motion of no confidence in President Zuma, Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) begun calls for Parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections held before a new president of the country is elected.
EFF leader Julius Malema stated, “Once we remove Zuma, Parliament must be dissolved. The Constitutional Court made a ruling that Parliament failed to discharge its responsibility when it couldn’t protect the Public Protector, including holding the president accountable”
The Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said they were calling for early elections because the ruling party is holding the country to ransom while the African Christian Democratic Party leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe says this is not about just Zuma: “As a collective, we’re saying the man (Zuma) is not the only problem. The proof is that with all the motions of no confidence and having stated why we want President Jacob Zuma to step down, the ANC Members of Parliament defended and protected him.”
Zambia has launched an impeachment motion, similar to South Africa’s motion of no confidence, except the allegations made against the President of Zambia are mainly about the collective decisions made the Cabinet while other grounds are matters before the Court.
Some of the allegations made against the President of Zambia include procurement of debt, presidential undertaking of foreign trips when money could have been spent on hospitals or health facilities and procurement of debt. The other grounds which are also matters the United Party for National Development (UPND) leaders Hakainde Hichilema, Godfrey Bwalya Mwamba and Heritage Party Leader Brigadier General Miyanda has taken to court involve the question whether President Lungu should have handed over power to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Matibini, and President Lungu’s remarks on the eligibility case, respectively.
UNPACKAGING THE GROUNDS
1. Allegation on procurement of public debt
The particulars of the allegation on this matter is contained in 2.
2.2.2: The President conducted himself in a manner which brought the office of the President in disrepute, ridicule and/or contempt by procuring public debt which is beyond the capacity of the Nation to sustain contrary to provisions of Article 198 (c) of the Constitution.
Article 198(c) reads:
“The guiding principles of public finance include the following sustainable public borrowing to ensure inter-generational equity”
The relevant provisions of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia are Articles 63(2)(d), Article 114 (1)(e) and Article 65(2)(e) which read, in this same order, as follows:
The National Assembly shall oversee the performance of executive functions by approving public debt before it is contracted”
“Article 114 (1)(e)
“The functions of Cabinet are as follows recommend, for approval of the National Assembly loans to be contracted by the State; and guarantees on loans contracted by State institutions or other institutions.”
A Money Bill means a Bill that provides for, among other matters the raising or guaranteeing of a loan or the repayment of it”
The ground raises the question on what role did the President play in debt contraction? Did Parliament discharge its mandate under Article 63(2)(d) or it failed such that if it was in South Africa, Julius Malema, would say ‘Parliament must be dissolved because it failed to discharge its responsibility including holding the President accountable in contracting public debt’? Did the Minister of Finance, through the Bill on National Budget, seek Parliamentary approval of the debt to be contracted? Did Parliament collectively approve the Budget?
If South Africa’s ACD leader Meshoe was a Member of the Zambian Parliament, wouldn’t he have said, ‘As a collective, we’re saying the man (Lungu) is not the only problem,… the PF Members of Parliament defended and protected President Lungu’s borrowing by approving the Budget’?
If President Lungu is to be impeached for contracting a public debt, Parliament should consider a motion to dissolve itself for approving the Money Bill that outlined how much Government was allowed to borrow. Secondly, this ground is a way of putting the 41 Cabinet and Provincial Ministers on trial who recommend, for approval of the National Assembly loans to be contracted by the State.
As President Lungu does not get directly involved in procurement of debt except chairing Cabinet, the ground is a way of putting the ruling Patriotic Front on trial for the many debts that it has contracted. The success of the ground on debt contraction will simply confirm that the ruling Patriotic Front has failed to govern. In an event that this ground succeeds and two-thirds of Members of Parliament vote to impeach President Lungu based on the debt Parliament approved, to quote Julius Malema, ‘the problem will be the PF, and the people of Zambia must be given a chance to vote for their next leader.’