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ACTIVIST PETITIONS OVER SWEARING-IN OF MINISTERS WITHOUT PARLEY OATH

By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA

GOVERNANCE activist Isaac Mwanza has asked the Constitutional Court to give an interpretation of whether a nominated Member of Parliament can be sworn in as Minister and perform ministerial functions without taking parliamentary oath.

Mr Mwanza wants the court to give an interpretation in terms of article 81 as whether one can legally be appointed to an office of minister and perform ministerial functions after dissolution of Parliament and before its commencement as was the case with Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane.

 He has also questioned whether it is legal for the President or any other appointing authority to terminate employment of public officers without just cause and due process citing article 173(3) of the Constitution.

He has asked the court to state whether a presidential abolishment of an office in the public service with a substantive holder is constitutional, legal and valid.

Mr Mwanza is also seeking clarity on whether the President can institute, create or abolish a public office without recommendation of the relevant service commission.

In an affidavit supporting originating summons filed yesterday, Mr Mwanza stated that between August 28 and September 7 this year, President Hakainde Hichilema removed from public office substantive office holders who included the  Inspector General of Police, Provincial Police commissioners, Defence Force Service Chiefs and swore in new public officers. He stated that on September 7, Mr Hichilema appointed and swore in 17 cabinet ministers and provincial ministers which included nominated MPs and at the time of swearing in, none of the nominated persons had taken a parliamentary oath.

He added that the President also terminated appointments of Secretary to Treasury and Smart Zambia National Coordinator.

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