The Constitutional Court of Zambia has ruled the President is not liable for acts which are not done under written instruction signed by the President.
The Court has since cleared President Hakainde Hichilema against allegations that he violated the Constitution when he disclosed during a media briefing at State House that he summoned the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Director General to discuss cases and explain why certain cases were not in court and assured the nation that the cases would be reinstated in courts.
In the case in which governance activist Isaac Mwanza had sued the Attorney General, the Court stated that the direction of the President has no force of law unless it is reduced in writing and is signed by the President in accordance with Article 93(1) of the Constitution.
The panel of five Judges also stated that statements by the President cannot be elevated to the status of instructions in the absence of written instruction.
A lawyer for Mwanza had argued that unconstitutional or illegal instructions by the President are rarely issued pursuant to Article 93(1) of the Constitution.
Following pronouncements by the President at the Press Briefings in April, 2022 that cases which were closed would be reinstated in courts, some cases involving former KCM Liquidator Milingo Lungu and former Minister Ronaldo Chitotela were reinstated in courts.
The Court has also cleared Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe of any alleged breaches when he said former DPP Lillian Siyuni misconduct herself and asked the Judicial Complaints Commission to speed the process of hearing cases on her removal.
This Judgment now mean present and former Presidents cannot be held accountable for acts they allegedly do or were allegedly done while in office if the same are carried out without written instructions that are personally signed by the President.