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ECL Immunity plot premature – Mwanza

By KETRA KALUNGA

THE plot to remove the immunity of former President Edgar Lungu is premature and a sign of hate politics that is associated with our democracy in Zambia, Centre for Constitutionalism and Legal Justice Director Isaac Mwanza has said.

Mr Mwanza said maneuvers to remove the immunity of the former head of state undermines and defeats the purpose of conferring immunity on a sitting President.

Mr. Mwanza challenged those pushing for the removal of Mr. Lungu’s immunity to produce evidence of criminality for which the former President could be prosecuted instead of doing so out of unsubstantiated allegations.

The Nangoma Foundation and various interest groups are on Friday expected to deliver a petition on the removal of the former President’s immunity.

Foundation Executive Director, Matomola Likwanya said the immunity for the former President needs to be lifted so that the Drug Enforcement Commission, Police and Anti-Corruption Commission can carry out their investigations into  various allegations.

Mr Mwanza however said he was also aware of schemes to use the continued stay of ministers in office during President Lungu’s administration as a basis for removal of his immunity.

“This does not make sense because as a sitting President he was entitled to give his opinion based on the law as it existed,” he said.

Mr Mwanza however said that immunity was conferred on a President to ensure that if there was an omission which he had done whilst serving as President, he was not to be prosecuted.

He said Mr Lungu’s decision that ministers continue their stay in office after the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the 2016 general elections was one such omission.

“Immunity is meant to cover up for some of the decisions that a President would have made or would have failed to make whilst in office.

“The former president was entitled to give his opinion based on the law that existed, so the fact that he held an opinion and allowed the ministers to stay in office is not an offense although the court ruled that it was wrong. There was no breach of the constitution, no, it means that the law has simply been clarified,” he said.

Mr Mwanza said it was surprising that the same people that were defending others now were calling for the removal of immunity for former President Lungu without any justifiable reason.

He advised against abusing the Zambian parliament to remove the immunity of former Presidents.

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