Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dr Chongwe urges Kunda to resign

Dr Chongwe urges Kunda to resign
Written by Patson Chilemba
Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:52:58 PM

LUSAKA lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe on Thursday joined calls for Vice-President George Kunda to resign, saying the Vice-President is not impartial, honest and fair in his opinions. In an interview, Dr Chongwe said he has always had misgivings with Vice-President KundaÕs conduct in Cabinet. He said a lawyer who lied like Vice-President Kunda was not fit to hold high office in the land.

ÒKunda is not a person who is impartial, honest and fair in his opinion because it is not only in the case of Siliya where he defended the minister and misled the nation as to what the Solicitor General had said, but he did the same in the Kashiwa Bulaya case. He withheld vital information to the African Commission of Human and Peoples rights.

So a person, a lawyer who lies along those lines is not a fit person to hold high office,Ó Dr Chongwe said. ÒOn the other issue, he did not say that what happened in Kabwe was an assassination attempt conceived by the government of former president Frederick Chiluba, that there was a complaint made to the United Nations regarding the story in Kabwe. He never mentioned that during ChilubaÕs time there was violation of human rights.Ó

Vice-President Kunda, a State Counsel, defended former communications and transport minister Dora SiliyaÕs wrong actions that were finally found to be in breach of the Constitution.

On President Rupiah BandaÕs accusation that the Attorney GeneralÕs chambers misled Siliya and the warning that he will reorganize the chambers to avoid the recurrence of the confusion, Dr Chongwe said politicians should not pounce on civil servants just because they were an easy prey. He said Attorney General Mumba Malila and Solicitor General Dominic Sichinga were constitutional officers and not politicians, saying it would be unfair to blame them for what happened to Siliya. Dr Chongwe said SiliyaÕs wrong doing could not have happened if President Banda had appointed a ÔSubstantiveÕ justice minister who was accessible to civil servants like Malila and Sichinga.

He said the answer to problems facing Siliya was not in changing people at the Attorney GeneralÕs chambers.

Dr Chongwe, who is former justice minister, said it had never happened in the history of the country where the Ministry of Justice was being run from Cabinet Office

ÒThis has happened because the Ministry is run by a person who is not a Cabinet minister. ItÕs run by a deputy minister who is not a member of cabinet. A deputy minister cannot telephone a Cabinet minister and ask that minister to come to his office to discuss issues.

There have been instances when people wanted to see the minister of justice [Vice-President Kunda]at Cabinet Office but they have been referred to see the deputy minister,Ó said Dr Chongwe. ÒThe reorganization should not be reorganizing of the Attorney GeneralÕs chambers. It should be the appointment of a justice minister, working in the Ministry. The Attorney General is actually a senior constitutional officer to the deputy minister.Ó

On Tuesady, Siliya resigned in view of the tribunal findings. The judge Dennis Chirwa tribunal found that siliya breached Article 3 of the Constitution when she selected RP Capital Partners Limited to value Zamtel assets.

On February 9, 2009, President Banda described as nonsense the argument that Siliya was illegally handling the privatization of Zamtel. He said Siliya was on the right track regarding the partial privatization of Zamtel. President Banda said Siliya was smarter than some of the people who were questioning her.

And on February 17, 2009 Vice-President Kunda stated: Òthe MoU was finally signed on 22nd December, 2008 by all parties. Thus at the time of signing the MoU, the Solicitor General had cleared and approved the MoU which had taken into account comments of the Solicitor General. For all intents and purposes, the Solicitor general was acting on behalf of the Attorney-General.Ó

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