By Peter Sinkamba
The Constitutional Court has already ruled that Attorney-General, being the chief legal adviser to the Government should only represent the Government in civil proceedings to which Government is a party.
Government is not a party to the case of former ministers who illegally overstayed in office after Parliament was dissolved in 2016. The Constitutional Court was loud and clear on this point two years ago when on 17 November, 2017, it made a ruling stating that the Attorney General had no locus standi to represent former ministers.
Reading the unanimous Ruling of the Full Bench of ConCourt judges, Judge Margaret Munalula unambiguously stated that the Attorney General Likando Kalaluka had no locus standi to challenge the decision of the Court. She further stated explicitly that the Attorney General should not appoint himself lawyer for the former ministers.
This ruling was made following a petition by the Attorney General which he filed in the Constitutional Court in October 2017 asking the Court to reopen the case of former ministers so that the Court could review its Judgment. The Attorney General had argued that it was an injustice akin to slavery to order former ministers to repay salaries and allowances after they worked and earned the money.
Despite the ConCourt directing him not to appoint himself lawyer for the former ministers, the Attorney General has once again appointed himself lawyer representing the former ministers in the same case. This time, he has made an application to the Registrar of the ConCourt to assess the monies payable by former ministers.
One wonders in what capacity the Attorney General has made the application when in 2017 the Court ruled that he lacks locus standi in this matter.
In our view as the Green Party, the gymnastics by the Attorney General are not only intended to delay the wheels of justice but also tantamount to contempt of the Constitutional Court. We think that he is actually undermining the Court. We urge him should stop this disrespectful conduct forthwith. We humbly ask him to let LAZ, UPND, and individual former ministers to sort out this mess themselves. The Court was very clear on what must be paid back. The Court stated that the former ministers should pay back “emoluments” received between 12 May 2016 and 10 August 2016.
Emoluments are emoluments as defined in Article 266 of the Constitution of Zambia Amendment 2016 as follows: “emoluments” include salaries, allowances, benefits and rights that form an individual’s remuneration for services rendered, including pension benefits or other benefits on retirement.” Seeking an interpretation of the meaning of emoluments as defined by the Constitution, is certainly a waste of court’s time.