The Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights has released two communiques today detailing alleged legal and constitutional violations committed by the Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba and the ruling Patriotic Front party of Zambia.
The first CDDR report examines a letter dated 31 October 2012, in which the Justice Minister wrote to the Anti-Corruption Commission’s General Director, reportedly requiring action by the Commission within seven days failing which the Minister would initiate judicial proceedings to compel the ACC to disclose on an investigation against the minister himself.
The report argues that “The Anti-Corruption Commission Act (c. 91) does not raise difficult questions of interpretation, contrary to what the Speaker affirmed in ruling in favour of the Justice Minister on the point of order. It affirms clearly that ‘[t]he Commission shall not, in the performance of its duties, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority’ (s. 5). The Justice Minister’s actions are nothing other than an attempt to subject the Commission to his direction and control.”
“The Justice Minister’s actions display the very sort of behaviour that suggests that there are two laws in Zambia: those for the government, and those for other Zambians. The Rule of Law emphasises an altogether different message: one law for all,” the CDDR report reads.
The second CDDR report focuses on an announcement by President Michael Sata that his government will purge all civil servants to replace them with members of the ruling Patriotic Front party.
“The suggestion that a government could ‘purge’ an entire public service in order to replace them with party loyalists grossly fails to understand the role of a civil servant who advises government without fear or favour,” the CDDR argues. ”The recent statements and actions of President Sata disclose not only a flagrant violation of constitutional tradition, but also a short-sightedness and commitment to bad policy that can only be explained by the view that, in his government’s eyes, power trumps principle and party comes before country.”
Both of the documents are signed by CDDR lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who also represents former President Rupiah Banda and his son Henry Banda.