By Patricia Male
Patriots for Economic Progress President, Sean Tembo says the constitutional court order that ministers who illegally stayed in office in 2016 when parliament was adjourned is unfair to the individual ministers as they did not remain in office by themselves, but were compelled to do so by their appointing authority who is President Edgar Lungu.
Mr. Tembo argues that while he welcomes this order by the ConCourt, the individual ministers themselves are not guilty of any wrongdoing and it is a violation for the court to seek to punish individuals that are not guilty of any wrongdoing whatsoever.
He explains that his party’s view on the matter is that while the constitutional court was in order when it held that the ministers had illegally stayed in office, the court however misdirected itself when it held that ordering the said ministers to repay the emoluments that they earned while in office will remedy the transgression of their illegal stay.
Mr. Tembo is of the view that the court should not have adopted a shallow perspective on the matter by holding that the ministers where illegally in office at their own instance because ministers are employees of government hence the more reason why government is responsible for paying their remuneration.
He says in this case, the president as head of government explicitly instructed the ministers to stay in office and should therefore pay back the money.
Mr. Tembo has further advised the affected ministers who were ordered to pay back the money to consider filing a lawsuit against president Lungu through the Attorney General, to compel the president to compensate them for the money that they have to pay back for illegally staying in office, since their illegal stay was at the instance of the president himself.