GEARS Initiative Zambia has demanded that Chief Justice Irene Mambilima must appoint a tribunal to investigate whether or not Lands Minister Jean Kapata has breached the law by allocating herself a plot in the controversial Lusaka East Local Forest Reserve number 27.
GEARS Initiative Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi said the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act of the Laws of Zambia provides that any citizen can apply to the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal to investigate if a Minister or Member of Parliament has used his or her position to gain pecuniary advantage in such matters as land allocation.
Mr. Chipenzi has also challenged Former Tourism Minister William Harrington to consider applying to the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal since he has been on this matter and has relevant experience in land issues.
He said Mr. Harrington should take up the challenge in the public and national interest to seriously request the Chief Justice to immediately appoint a tribunal to investigate the matter of Forest Reserve Number 27 as he has vast experience in tribunals in particular the Dora Siliya and Sylvia Masebo tribunals.
Mr. Chipenzi said if indeed Mr Harrington has any evidence on this matter which he has consistently questioned that Jean Kapata and other senior government officials did allocate themselves agricultural and other plots in the forest reserve, then he has prima facia evidence to warrant appointment of a tribunal to investigate the Minister of Lands.”
He said the issue is of interest to GEARS Initiative as it borders on good governance, transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs by those entrusted to do so.
Mr. Chipenzi is hopeful that the Chief Justice will be magnanimous enough to receive, if Mr Harrington agrees to petition her, to set up the tribunal so that the truth is known to all Zambians on how Minister Jean Kapata allocated herself land in the controversial Forest Reserve as sitting minister of lands.