HAKAINDE Hichilema says PF are frightened to the bone over the motion to impeach President Edgar Lungu following constitutional breaches and gross misconduct hence its decision to go to court to try and block it.
The Lusaka High Court has stayed Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini’s decision to entertain a notice of motion of impeachment of President Edgar Lungu.
The High Court order followed an application through judicial review by Robert Chabinga and Henry Mulenga who are being represented by Lewis Mosho and Hobday Kabwe.
Two weeks ago, Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo, supported by 60 other members of parliament, submitted the motion for possible tabling on a Wednesday before Parliament adjourned sine die but could not be tabled because, according to deputy speaker Catherine Namugala, the Speaker was not compelled on when the motion could be brought in the House.
Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya branded it frivolous and an abuse of the law.
Later, the PF started arguing that the motion should not be entertained because there were matters in court regarding some of the grounds of impeachment.
The impeachment is premised on failure by President Lungu to hand over executive functions to Speaker Matibini when the UPND filed a presidential election petition, and excesses in expenditure such as the 42 fire trucks and the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway projects, among others.
Commenting on the development, Hichilema said it was strange that the PF could now run to court when initially they said the impeachment motion would never succeed because UPND did not have numbers in Parliament to pass it.
“We gave them the argument that this motion had nothing to do with numbers but everything to do with the illegalities, it’s their constitutional transgressions which were occasioned, the numbers didn’t matter. The nation would know that we are being ruled by somebody who basically has no respect for the constitution, which he swore to protect,” Hichilema said. “…I don’t think the debate as to whether or not the motion is frivolous is there anymore because we have people who are frightened, PF are frightened to the bone, I am sure you can see it yourself.”
He said in 1990, the MMD, as an opposition then, had no members of Parliament but were able to get UNIP to act in the interest of Zambians to amend the constitution to move the country away from a single party dispensation to a multiparty one.
The opposition leader recalled that UNIP even went further to bring the elections ahead by two years (from 1993 to 199I).
“So we demonstrated to everybody that this motion had nothing to do with the numbers because every member of parliament, yes they are elected on a party ticket but once you are in the House, you are a creation of the constitution and the constitution belongs to the people and the people will use the constitution as an instrument to achieve what they want in a civilised nation,” Hichilema said.
“The truth is that they [PF] are frightened, completely frightened yet they were suggesting that they were unconcerned about this impeachment motion. That’s the first argument. The second comment is that we are waiting to see how Parliament will behave.”
He said at the time that Rupiah Banda’s immunity was about to be lifted by Parliament, the former head of State had gone to court to challenge the move.
On March 15, 2013 the motion, introduced by then PF minister of justice Wynter Kabimba to lift Banda’s immunity became deadlocked for an hour after UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu rose on a point of order arguing that the house must first await the outcome of a case that was sitting before the High Court filed by Banda, which requested an injunction until he was given an opportunity to defend himself.
“Mr Speaker, we are all aware that at various foras and in this house, you have advised that a matter that is in court cannot be discussed on the floor of this house,” Mwiimbu said then in his point of order.
”Your office, Mr. Speaker, has always said once the matter is in court, your hands are tied. And that there is nothing you can do until the matter is resolved in the courts of law.”