MORE DEMAND ACC, AUTONOMY
By SIMON MUNTEMBA
MORE stakeholders are opposed to placing the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) under the Office of the President, as they feel that its autonomy would be compromised.
Opposition New Heritage Party said there would be no survival of autonomy if ACC was placed under Office of the President.
Party vice president Samuel Kasankha said they were completely opposed to placing the ACC under the Office of the President.
“As a Party, we are completely opposed to placing the ACC under the Office of the President. We do not see survival of the famous ‘autonomy’ if at the same time this office will be answerable to the president,” Mr Kasankha said.
He explained that autonomy meant the commission should be able to make final reports without any due influence from anybody, if officers were made to report under the Office of the President, there would be no autonomy.
And Mr Kasankha appealed to the government to rescind it’s immediately, and allow the ACC and all other investigative bodies operate the way they have done in the past.
Last week, President Hakainde Hichilema’s special assistant for press and public relations, Anthony Bwalya said the Head of State would not interfere in the operations of the investigative wings and other governance institutions and would remain committed to ensuring that they continued to execute their statutory obligations autonomously.
And Mr Isaac Mwanza who is the director at Centre for Constitutionalism and Legal Justice welcomed the assurance by Mr Bwalya insisted that the commission’s autonomy would be compromised.
Mr Mwanza said the commission under the Office of the President is likely to be abused by targeting perceived enemies to those in power.
“These constitutionally created institutions once they are robbed of their real independence from the President and other Executive offices, may be abused to work towards impressing the President by targeting perceived enemies to those in power rather than work professionally,” he said.
Mr Mwanza said UPND was elected on the basis that it would strengthen the rule of law and break away from past practices, such as placement of institutions the Constitution required remain independent under the presidency.
He explained that Articles 216(b) and 238(1) of the Constitution as amended in 2016 emphatically required that Commissions such as the ACC were not only not subject to the control of a person or an authority in the performance of its functions or self-accounting Institutions but that they should also be independent.