Gertrude Imenda, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Party for National Development (UPND),has asserted that the immunity enjoyed by former Zambian President Edgar Lungu does not extend to his wife and children. Imenda emphasized that they can be subject to investigation and legal proceedings if any wrongdoing is suspected.
Imenda’s comments came in response to remarks made by Brian Mundubile, a presidential aspirant from the Patriotic Front (PF), who claimed that Lungu was unjustly treated by the UPND government, alleging that he had not committed any actions to warrant such treatment.
Responding to Mundubile’s assertions, Imenda clarified that Lungu was not being harassed by the UPND government, as implied. She reiterated that the investigation into Lungu’s alleged misdeeds was carried out in accordance with the rule of law and due process.
Imenda further explained that presidential immunity, which shields former heads of state from prosecution for acts committed during their tenure, is limited to the individual holding the office. The immunity does not extend to the immediate family members, such as the spouse and children.
Yesterday, Ho Mundubile, a presidential aspirant from the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) party, expressed his disapproval of the treatment received by former Zambian President Edgar Lungu at the hands of the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) government. Mundubile questioned the justification behind the treatment and accused the government of infringing on Lungu’s rights as a citizen.
Mundubile specifically referred to Justice Minister Mulambo Haimbe’s statement regarding Lungu’s continued enjoyment of benefits despite alleged misbehavior. He questioned the notion of misbehavior and urged the government to clarify the actions they were referring to. Mundubile emphasized that as a citizen of Zambia, Lungu is entitled to all the rights and freedoms accorded to him, and any attempt to control his behavior would be an infringement on his rights.
Furthermore, Mundubile drew a parallel to the respectful treatment of former presidents in neighboring Kenya, particularly mentioning President Uhuru Kenyatta’s respect for former President William Ruto. He called upon the UPND government to learn from this example and urged ministers and the head of state to show similar respect towards Lungu.
The opposition aspirant criticized the alleged harassment and humiliation that Lungu has endured, particularly by the police and the UPND government. Mundubile argued that there was no justification for such treatment, and the government’s contradictory statements and activities concerning the former president’s office raised suspicions. He called on the UPND to reflect on their actions, stating that their treatment of a former head of state was drawing negative attention globally.
Mundubile suggested that Lungu’s harassment stemmed from the UPND government’s fear that his interactions with citizens would expose their failures in fulfilling their promises. According to him, the government’s sensitivity arose from their realization that they had not delivered on their commitments to the Zambian people. Mundubile cited potential topics that Lungu might address, such as drug shortages, agricultural sector challenges, compromised judiciary appointments, and concerns within the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
Meanwhile, Mundubile challenged Justice Minister Haimbe’s assertion that a former head of state’s treatment was based on their conduct while in power. He accused the UPND government of handling the matter in a childish manner, calling for a proper legal process if they had any case against Lungu, including laying charges, removing his immunity in Parliament, and prosecuting him in a dignified manner.