Constitutional lawyer, John Sangwa has said that the swearing-in of Ministers to proposed newly created or merged, or adjusted ministries that have not been approved by the National Assembly, is illegal.
Speaking to Diamond TV, Mr. Sangwa said it was a clear violation of the Constitution to swear in individuals to Ministries that have not been approved by the National Assembly.
Five Ministers who were sworn-in have been affected by the provisions of Article 92(2) (d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia.
“Before the approval is given, all the President can do is to propose the creation, merging or adjustment or abolition of the Ministries.” he said before adding “The proposal by the President has to be approved by the National Assembly and when the proposal is approved, that is the only time that the Ministries can be established and Ministers can take oath and be sworn-in.”
“To resolve this illegality, he will have to start the process afresh. He has to start with the proposal to create, merge or re-align those Ministries.” Mr Sangwa said.
“The National Assembly has to consider the proposals, ratify or give approval to them. It is at that stage that designated individuals can take the oath and be sworn-in as Ministers” he said.
Mr. Sangwa said, therefore, that the oaths so far taken by the five Ministers are null and void.
“Even the oath they have taken is null and void. You cannot swear in an individual to a Ministry that doesn’t exist. It is illegal. The oath they have taken is therefore null and avoid and has no effect he said.
“The said individuals will be required to take fresh oaths after the National Assembly has approved the proposal the President to create or merge or adjust the affected ministries,” Mr Sangwa said said
The five Ministries earmarked for parliamentary approval include newly created ministries; the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, and the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises. Others that have been re-aligned are the Ministry of Information and Media and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Urban Development.
Yesterday President Hakainde Hichilema acknowledged that the new Ministries he has created or changed will require approval of the National Assembly. He has insisted that his government will follow the law as he swore to defend, uphold and protect the Constitution.
He directed that no Minister affected in these new Ministries should report for work or do any duties until the National Assembly completes the approval process. He has appealed to the Vice-President to ensure that the proposal to restructure ministries was quickly approved by Parliament. He has also sought cooperation from the National Assembly to ensure that his proposal to create and change the structures of ministries was approved.
However, Minister of Science and Technology Hon. Felix Mutati reported for work and posted that he has begun working in his newly created Ministry.