In a concerning move, Hon. Mulambe Haimbe, the Minister of Justice, and the government have proposed amendments to the National Prosecution Authority Act of 2010, potentially violating the Constitution. The proposed changes seek to introduce another head of the Board of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, contradicting the constitutional provision that designates the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as the Chief Prosecutor for the Government and Head of the National Prosecutions Authority.
The subsidiary law, known as the National Prosecutions Authority (amendment) Bill of 2023, is expected to undermine the constitutional mandate of the DPP. As per Article 180(3) of the Constitution, the DPP is entrusted with the role of the Chairperson of the National Prosecutions Authority Board, ensuring the independence and autonomy of the office.
It is worth noting that a similar arrangement exists for the Central Bank, where the Bank Governor serves as the Board Chairperson of the Bank of Zambia Board, as stipulated in Section 13(1)(a) of the Act. This provision guarantees the independence and integrity of the Central Bank.
In light of this constitutional framework, it is imperative that Hon. Mulambe Haimbe and the Executive abandon their pursuit of amending the law to allow an external individual to control the office of the DPP. Such a move would not only be unlawful but could also compromise the independence and impartiality of the prosecution process.
Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba, a prominent figure in the public sphere, expressed concerns regarding the proposed amendments. He emphasized the importance of upholding the Constitution and safeguarding the integrity of the National Prosecutions Authority. Amb. Mwamba stated, “The Constitution clearly designates the Director of Public Prosecutions as the Chief Prosecutor and Chairperson of the National Prosecutions Authority Board. Any attempt to deviate from this constitutional provision is a violation of the principles of justice and the rule of law.”
The proposal to introduce a separate head of the Board of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions raises questions about the motives behind such a change. Critics argue that it may undermine the autonomy and effectiveness of the DPP’s office, potentially compromising the fight against corruption and ensuring accountability within the justice system.
In order to maintain the public’s trust and confidence in the justice system, it is essential that the government upholds the principles enshrined in the Constitution. The independence and impartiality of the DPP’s office are vital in ensuring fair and just prosecution processes.
As the debate continues surrounding the proposed amendments, civil society organizations, legal experts, and concerned citizens are closely monitoring the situation. The adherence to constitutional provisions and the preservation of the rule of law are crucial for the continued development and stability of the country.
In conclusion, the government’s proposal to amend the National Prosecution Authority Act, particularly the provision related to the appointment of the head of the Board of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, has raised concerns about the potential violation of the Constitution. Upholding the constitutional mandate that designates the Director of Public Prosecutions as the Chief Prosecutor and Chairperson of the National Prosecutions Authority Board is essential to maintain the independence and impartiality of the office. It is vital that Hon. Mulambe Haimbe and the Executive abandon this pursuit, ensuring the preservation of the rule of law and the integrity of the justice system.