Secretary to the Cabinet, Patrick Kangwa, clarified that Vice President Mutale Nalumango consistently assumes the role of President whenever President Hakainde Hichilema travels abroad. During a media briefing in Lusaka, Kangwa provided insights into the constitutional process that takes place when the President is away, ensuring that the Vice President is duly designated as the Acting President.
Kangwa explained that when President Hichilema travels, the Office of the Secretary to the Cabinet formally writes to the Head of State, requesting him to delegate his powers according to constitutional provisions. Following this request, a Statutory Instrument is issued, and a gazette notice is printed to inform the public about the delegation of presidential functions.
The Secretary to the Cabinet emphasized that Vice President Nalumango has been delegated the President’s functions on all foreign trips undertaken by President Hichilema. He urged journalists and the public to access these gazette notices at Government printers, highlighting that they are public documents.
Kangwa emphasized that the Zambian constitution permits the President to delegate his functions whenever he travels abroad. He further clarified that during such periods, Vice President Nalumango does not attend parliamentary sessions where she holds the position of Leader of Government Business. Instead, she assumes the role of Acting President until the return of President Hichilema.
The media briefing comes in response to a circulating video on social media alleging neglect and suffering on the part of Vice President Nalumango during the President’s foreign trips. Kangwa’s explanation aimed to provide clarity on the constitutional processes in place, assuring the public that the Vice President performs the duties of the Acting President responsibly and in accordance with the law.
The statement from the Secretary to the Cabinet serves to dispel misinformation and reaffirm the constitutional procedures followed in ensuring effective governance during the President’s temporary absence from the country.