“Presidential immunity clause must be removed”

 

File: Rupiah Banda and Edgar Lungu arrives for a press conference

A None Governmental Organisation has called for the removal of the presidential immunity clause from the republican constitution.

GEARS says doing so will promote transparency.

Zambia became the first country in Commonwealth since it was constituted to lift its former president’s immunity Frederick Chiluba in 2002 following a serious graft fight instituted by then President Levy Mwanawasa.

GEARS sounded the call in a press release below to Zambian Eye.

The immunity clauses in the republican Constitution and other National Laws must be scrapped off to promote transparency and accountability in the management and administration of public, national, private and religious affairs and further promote responsible leadership in the country.

 

For years now, the immunity clauses existing in our laws have acted as temporary vaccines against the pursuit of transparency and accountability on duty bearers in their discharge of national, private and religious affairs resulting in high incidents of corruption, abuse of public and private resources and facilities without being held to account.

 

Inversely, when time comes to account after their immunities are lifted, the money and time spent to pursue the culprits become colossal and the time passage acts as ventilations for the culprits to stash evidence from those who pursue them.

 

Consequently, the exercise of pursuing these suspected culprits becomes expensive and time consuming to the nation without or with very little success as was the case in the post immunity legal cases against the former presidents, Fredrick J. T Chiluba and Rupiah Bwezani Banda.

 

It is therefore, imperative to note that such expenditure on time and money could have been avoided if the immunity clause was not there in the first place as these presidents and other duty bearers would have been made to account during their tenure of office and live a quiet and honorable life thereafter.

 

It is GEARS Initiative’s hope that this demand will not face resistant because all innocents will have nothing to fear with the calls to have the immunity clause removed but only the corrupt and guilty and those who aspire to be leaders to engage in corruption and other maladministration would want to defend the continued existence of such laws in Zambia, a country faced with high levels of grand corruption and abuses suspectedly being committed by those protected by Immunity [vaccine].

 

To this end, GEARS Initiative joins other progressive forces in the country in demanding for the removal of the immunity clause [vaccine] from the republican Constitution and other National Laws to enhance and promote a transparent and accountable governance and democratic process.

 

In this regard, GEARS Initiative will partner with other likeminded organizations in taking advantage of the ongoing “Constitutional Refinement Process” to heighten its advocacy on the campaign dubbed “Immunity clause must go” to ensure that the proposed refined Constitution does not contain immunity clause [vaccine] again.

 

McDonald Chipenzi

Executive Director

 

 

Source: http://zambianeye.com

 

Zambian Eye (Zambia)

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