Saturday, June 15, 2024

Lifting Presidential Immunity

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By Dickson Jere

Unlike the lifting of Immunity of former President Frederick Chiluba (2002) and Rupiah Banda (2013) which was done with ease in Parliament, the law has now changed since 2016. See Article 98 of the Constitution.

In Chiluba and Banda cases, a wide range of unsubstantiated allegations were made in Parliament, which prompted MPs to lift Presidential immunity without verification of the allegations. And it was by mere simple majority vote by Parliament! But now the law has changed. The following pointers must now be followed for lifting Immunity:

1. It is the sitting President himself who should go to Parliament and present a Report detailing the specific allegations against former President. (Rupiah Banda was done by Minister of Justice).

2. The allegations must be specific and Parliament is obliged to set-up a special Committee to probe the allegations before tabling them in the House unlike in the Chiluba and Banda case.

3. The former President, unlike previous, is allowed to challenge and be heard at Parliament before lifting of immunity. So, if the allegations are fake, the Committee will inform Parliament and the whole process fails! Lawyers get involved at this stage like in the US during congressional hearing of impeachment of the President.

4. If the Committee finds that the allegations are valid, Parliament will still has to vote for lifting of immunity and the motion requires two-thirds majority unlike in Chiluba and Banda cases where you just needed simple majority.

5. Once immunity is lifted, the former President ought to charged with those specific charges or alleged offences that Parliament approved and nothing else. In both Chiluba and Banda cases, they were charged with other unrelated offences not presented to Parliament.

6. If acquitted by the Courts, immunity is given back automatically by operation of law unlike in the Chiluba and Banda cases.

The effect of the above entails that the former President must be investigated first and prima facie case found against him before contemplating to lift immunity. There is no law that stops law enforcement agencies from investigating former President but prosecution. The process has now been lengthened following the unsuccessful prosecution of Chiluba and Banda. No ordinary MP or Minister can move Parliament to remove immunity unlike in the past. It must be President.

23 COMMENTS

    • Kikiki, okufa sazibika imwe ba Patriot Front UK_Branch. You’re the custodians of those off shore accounts that were used to siphon poor people’s resources!

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    • Baza it has been over a year and not a single corruption conviction. Here you are now dreaming that we have off shore accounts. The only one who appeared in Panama papers is your father HH.

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    • This clown here is not a new blogger observe this sausage closely…it gets bore every now and then KZ material has been exhausted now its looking for a new high.

  1. Once lungus networth is known ……..or his declared assets at ECZ becomes public……

    Is the beginning of the end for lungu………

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  2. If Lungu hadn’t hauled Hakainde into Chimbokaila , all these wouldn’t rise. Whether Lungu stole or not, is not the motive. It’s about hitting back.
    Why even wait just arrest him put him away so that we can all move on.

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    • Don’t worry about them. Worry about the new price of fuel effective midnight.
      Your tribesman reduced the fuel prices because of that election but it seems the election is a long way off and he can’t shoulder the losses any longer.

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    • Deja Vu – Which tribesman? Dont be a tribal bigot you are embarassing yourself you are better than that ..silly little man.
      At least the price is almost cost reflective unlike during PF when the was a pandemic crude oil was cheap as chips yet Lazy Lungu and Co were racking in the profits whilst keeping the price high and unchanged the was billions of dollars going into pockets.

    • Deja Vu – Which tribesman? Dont be a trib al bigot you are embarassing yourself you are better than that ..sil ly little man.
      At least the price is almost cost reflective unlike during PF when the was a pandemic crude oil was cheap as chips yet Lazy Lungu and Co were racking in the profits whilst keeping the price high and unchanged the was billions of dollars going into pockets.

    • Deja Vu – Which tribe sman? Dont be a trib al bi got you are embarassing yourself you are better than that ..sil ly little man.
      At least the price is almost cost reflective unlike during PF when the was a pandemic crude oil was cheap as chips yet Lazy Lungu and Co were racking in the profits whilst keeping the price high and unchanged the was billions of dollars going into pockets.

  3. Dickson Jere, we thank you for clarification. Mineral tax holiday will be easy for the next president to clearly point out allegations during presentation in parliament.

  4. So why is Edgar furious when he and his lawyer friends drafted the constitution??? This is how silly PF are. Let DEC investigate before the motion is sent to parley. Those solidarity visits by his minions are going to his head and thinks he still has instruments of power. I have noticed the ka attitude when cadres are present ….kikiki.

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  5. Thank you for providing clarity. No wonder Edgar has been requesting that HH start the process of removal of his immunity. I thought, like Him. Cornelius Mweetwa, that his MPs could move a motion to remove his immunity.
    HH wants a water tight case before taking ex president’s immunity removal to Parliament. Edgar’s support team worked around the three layers of money laundering to steal money; most prominent was in real estate, casinos, car washes, construction, massive cash transactions, etc. But there must be a way to get to these illegal transactions through tax compliance laws

  6. The past immunity lifting scenarios didn’t yield anything tangible apart from lawyers and the judges who crashed in by getting wealthier than the real Zambians from those graft fights.
    The current “immunity” law removes sensationalism, heresay, witch hunt and falsehood.
    Besides, the same laws ( JCC) protect lawyers, judges and BOZ governors

  7. # 4. Lungs has immunity as former head of state and you can’t arrest him without removing that immunity is that rocket science to understand? Unlike Hakainde’s case when he misbehaved on the road to Mongu. He had no such immunity so he was arrested when he returned from Mongu.

    • l am not a dull person. The point I am making is that your president must stop the monkey tricks he’s engaging himself in…. sending the ever unprofessional DEC and fellow monkeys ACC. Since he’s no respecter of law he can simply indtruct them to arrest him.

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  8. Thanks ba Dickson for the explanation. However, it’s my contention that while investigative wings are free to investigate a former head of state, they are not supposed to do so through the media as happened here. I don’t think it was the intention of the lawmakers that former presidents should be investigated in the manner the DEC did, By all means let the investigative wings investigate first and when they think they have gathered sufficient evidence, then they can present such evidence to the appropriate authorities. You don’t seize a former head of state’s property before his immunity is lifted. That’s completely wrong. Mary Chirwa needs to face the music for what she has done. What she did was embarrassing, no doubt about it.

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