Wednesday, April 17, 2024

President Lungu is well within his power to pardon prisoners during the transitional period-LAZ

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The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said that out going President Edgar Lungu is well within his powers, in invoking the provisions of Article 97 (1)(a) of the Constitution, to release prisoners despite the country being in a transitional period.

In a statement released to the media following the pardoning of some high profile convicts by the president, LAZ said that there has been significant inquiries and speculation through various media platforms questioning the legality of the decision, given that the country is in a transitional period.

The Association further said that this speculation has prompted it to guide the nation, pursuant to its mandate under Section 4 of the Law Association of Zambia Act, Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia.

However, LAZ was quick to point out that the expectation is that that the President acted on a recommendation from the Advisory Committee as he exercised his constitutional power of prerogative of mercy, as the absence of such a recommendation would render the decision unconstitutional.

Below is the full statement

PRESS RELEASE
ON THE PRESIDENT’S DECISION TO RELEASE 60 PRISONERS

On Thursday, 19 th August, 2021 the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu invoked Article 97 (1)(a) of the Constitution of Zambia to release 60 prisoners. In accordance with the said constitutional provision, the President exercised his prerogative of mercy.

Following this decision, there has been significant inquiries and speculation through various media platforms questioning the legality of the decision, given that the country is in a transitional period. This speculation has prompted LAZ to guide the nation, pursuant to its mandate under Section 4 of the Law Association of Zambia Act, Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia.

Article 104 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia, as read together with The Transitional Period and Inauguration of President Act No. 32 of 2016, makes it clear that the President has power to perform functions of that office during the transitional period.

Limitations on the exercise of this power are that the President is precluded from making appointments and dissolving the National Assembly.

Therefore, the President is well within his powers, in invoking the provisions of Article 97 (1)(a) of the Constitution, to release prisoners despite the country being in a transitional period.

A caveat to the exercise of this executive power though is that a prisoner being released should not have any appeal pending in any court against the conviction.

Further, the President does not act on his own accord in exercising this power, but does so only after receipt of a recommendation from the Advisory Committee, which is constituted by the President pursuant to Article 96 of the Constitution of Zambia.

It is LAZ’s expectation that the President acted on a recommendation from the Advisory Committee as he exercised his constitutional power of prerogative of mercy, as the absence of such a recommendation would render the decision unconstitutional.

Dated this 21 st day of August, 2021.
_________________________________
Sokwani Peter Chilembo
HONORARY SECRETARY

16 COMMENTS

  1. Lawyers make one of Zambia’s worst disasters. Lawyers have failed us. The manner in which our laws are drafted they can’t tame a lunatic in power. It’s taken the masses to emphatically tell Edgar Chagwa Lungu that he wasn’t eligible to be on the ballot. The ConCourt failed! Kambwili’s case is still in court but he’s been pardoned and LAZ is here to tell us to accept what doesn’t make sense. We Zambians know how to deal with that, we don’t need advice from LAZ

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  2. What ECL didn’t is commendable. Mercy is a cornerstone of Gods character. A nation is judged by how it treats its prisoners.

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  3. These are questionable pardons, especially where people he personally knows are concerned. Edgar Lungu has been a poor fit in the office of President of the Republic of Zambia.

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  4. We know that lungu is with in his rights with the pardons ……..

    However , what these pardons show is that lungu is a dangerous violent trial bigot…..

    The tribal hate spewed by kambwili were engineered by lungu…..

    that was the deal between lungu and CK……..

    forment tribal hatred and I will issue a presidential pardon what ever happens in the election…………

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  5. The President might be have the right to pardon people, but shouldn’t someone considered wise enough to be president to read the atmosphere and appreciate circumstances leading to his fall from power? This demonstrates the lack of maturity and conscience in ECL. It’s scary that we could’ve such a person in the office of President. For me, this is yet another indication that our Constitution isn’t worth anything. We need to remove and replace it. What sort of lawyers do we have in the country to allow such a useless Constitution to be in place? This time round, let us implement something that deals with every scenario and keeps the powers separated. The Constitution has also to deal with the provinces, tribe, land, natural resources, the `Barotse Agreement ‘ agreement and many other…

  6. Either ECL is a quack-Lawyer who doesn’t really interrogate the fundamentals of our Laws or he is arrogant and dangerously disrespectful of our Laws.
    Shame on us, because we should never have had him and his cohorts at the helm of our country, for this long, to cause so much damage to our lives.

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  7. He might be “well within his powers” but is what he has done morally right?

    They say ” Good people do not need Laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”.

  8. Lungu shouldn’t be giving pardons to people whose cases are still before the courts.Separation of powers is important so he should’ve respected that.

  9. Edgar China Lungu’s moral compass clearly is broken. Freeing his corrupt PF friends is as corrupt as they were, and confirms him as the extremely poor and selfish president he has proven to be. Thank the Lord, it will be over in two days.

  10. The just ended elections had prisoners able to vote. Lungu has pardoned prisoners that were his campaign managers at Mukobeko, Chimbokaila etc. Despite prisoners giving him ? the man still failed miserably to secure victory

  11. Edgar Lungu was never a wise President, I without malice and objectively followed his presidency, the man was not fair, and very sad how he closed this country to the opposition, and it was only him that mattered

  12. I thought you only pardon people who have been convicted and not with pending cases Last ditch effort to save his cronies.

  13. LAZ kindly guide us why prisoner 29 and 57 on the pardon list, has the same name, is it a duplication or coincidence? Or did the President pardon 59 prisoners instead of 60. If it is an omission, what next to add to the number 60.

  14. Corrupt mind, dullness or simply arrogance ?
    Personal conscience and morality tells you not to do certain things even when the law may be silent on such.
    I totally agree with @ Armchair critic above that …… ” Good people do not need Laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”.
    This Man was corrupt to the bone.

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