ZAMBIA’s Constitutional Court of Zambia has been asked to urgently interpret whether a Minister can be in office after dissolution of Parliament but before commencement of Parliament.
Governance Activist Isaac Mwanza has dragged the Attorney General to Court over what appears to be questions sorrounding the performance of ministerial functions by Finance Minister Situmbeko before the commencement of the National Assembly.
He has also challenged the Attorney General on whether a person can legally be appointed to head a Ministry established and/or merged and perform the functions of that office before approval by the National Assembly of Zambia.
In reference to the appointment of Felix Mutati and other UPND Alliance leaders, Mr Mwanza has questioned the Court on whether, in terms of Article 69 as read together with Article 81 of the Constitution of Zambia, a person who has not been sworn in as a nominated Member of Parliament can be sworn in as a Minister and perform ministerial functions.
Mr Mwanza has also asked the Court to clarify the law on whether, in view of Article 173(3) of the Constitution of Zambia, the President or any other appointing authority can terminate the employment of a public officer without just cause and due process. Public officers have always been the first casualty of politicians upon change of government.
Mr Mwanza has also asked the Court to interpret on whether the President can institute, create or abolish a public office without recommendation of the relevant Service Commission as was done with the creation of the office of Deputy Inspector General of Police – Special Duties (State House).
He is also seeking an interpretation on whether a Presidential abolishment of an office in the public service with a substantive holder is constitutional, legal and valid.
Republican President Hakainde Hichilema has in the past few weeks sworn in Finance Minister Musokotwane and other Ministers before the dissolved National Assembly commenced. He has also fired various public officers without affording them due process and appointed other in their place. Minister Mutati, who was nominated, assumed office before Parliament approved the establishment of their Ministries.