President Hakainde Hichilema has been asked to perform more action than words in granting the independence to Anti-Corruption Commission, Public Protector and the Anti-Financial and Economic Crimes Commission which have been which have been placed under his office.
Welcoming the non-interference stance in the operations of ACC, DEC and FIC the Center for Constitutionalism and Legal Justice said President Hakainde Hichilema must free these institutions to run independently as required by the Constitution.
Center Director Isaac Mwanza reminded the United Party for National Development that they were elected on the basis that they will strengthen the rule of law and break away from past practices in which institutions which the Constitution requires to be independent are placed under another office.
“Our view is that the UPND administration must avoid the temptation of justifying their actions and decisions that violate the Constitution based on past similar actions by the UNIP, MMD and PF regime,” said Mwanza.
Articles 216(b) and 238(1) of the Constitution as amended in 2016 require that self-accounting Commissions such as the ACC are not only subject to the control of a person or an authority in the performance of its functions but must also be independent.
Mr. Mwanza said President Hichilema has an early opportunity to do things differently by removing the ACC and Public Protector from his office.
“By now the UPND should have learned a lesson from past regimes on the dangers of keeping these institutions under his office,” said Mwanza.
The Center said once key institutions such as ACC, DEC, FIC, and the public protector are robbed of their real independence from the President and other Executive offices, they abuse themselves or become abused towards impressing the President by targeting the corruption crusade against perceived enemies to those in power rather than work professionally.