Thu, 08 Feb 2018 11:07:44 +0000
By LINDA SOKO TEMBO and SIMON MUNTEMBA
CALLS for the removal of the immunity clause are retrogressive, insincere, baseless and must be dismissed with the contempt they deserve, Kabwe Central Member of Parliament Tutwa Ngulube has said.
And political analysist Alex Ng’oma has described calls to remove the immunity clause from the constitution as misplaced because the Head of State makes critical decisions on behalf of the citizens that requires him to be protected.
Reacting to sentiments expressed by GEARS Initiative Zambia, executive director McDonald Chipenzi calling for the removal of the immunity clauses in the republican Constitution and other national laws, Mr Ngulube charged that Mr Chipenzi was speaking from a layman’s point of view who did not understand the law.
He added that the Mr Chipenzi did not understand the benefit and history of the immunity clause.
He said that it was important for the President to have the immunity clause so that by virtue of him holding that office he would actually survive attacks.
Mr Ngulube, who is a lawyer said that armchair critics must know that the the presidency must be protected from unnecessary harassment and intimidation. “In any given situation that immunity clause acts as a buffer zone to protect office bearers from harassment and also against unnecessary intimidation that the president for example would be appearing in court everyday so the immunity clause is a universal protection just like judges they have an immunity you can’t sue them,” he said. The lawmaker said that people must not just wake up and start making up such allegations as they risked plunging the country into unnecessary debate.
Meanwhile, Dr Ng’oma, who is University of Zambia political science lecturer said the calls for the abolishment of the clause on the immunity of the President are driven by malice and vindictiveness.
He pointed out campaigns for the removal of immunity for the sitting President should not be entertained because it will just expose the Head of State to vulnerability and erode the respect that the office of the Presidency enjoys. Dr Ng’oma explained that the Head of State is immune to civil and criminal proceedings whilst serving as republican President and thereafter because of some critical decisions he takes for the nation.
He however, explained that if need arose to remove immunity of a sitting president, it could be done by Parliament in accordance with Article 98(8). “People must understand that the President makes critical decisions for them which they are not aware of and without immunity he cannot make them, so it is misplaced to call for the abolishment of the clause on the immunity of the sitting President ,” Dr Ng’oma stated.