LAZ’s position on DPP lawlessness, says Sangwa

LUSAKA lawyer, John Sangwa has said it is lawlessness for the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to champion the resignation of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Chalwe M’chenga, knowing well that it has no constitutional powers to do so.
And Mr Sangwa has urged LAZ to take the matter to court if it had enough evidence that the DPP’s action was against the law and advised LAZ to stop behaving like hooligans or vigilantes who worked without evidence.
Mr Sangwa, speaking as a constitutional lawyer in an interview yesterday, said what LAZ was doing was sad because instead of strengthening the law using its own tools, it was actually weakening it.
He said the DPP was supposed to operate independently and that if people had questions about certain decisions, they should be able to state the basis of the wrongs that he had done and later follow the channels that be.
“No one in this country has exclusive powers other than those of the DPP. His decision only matters, others don’t because they don’t have such powers. This is a sad development. This behaviuor does not contribute to the strengthening of the law, it is actually lawlessness,” he said.
He said LAZ was not supposed to undermine a legal institution because its obligation was to strengthen it and that those without evidence should learn to accept the outcome of cases.
He said LAZ was well-versed in law and knew that the DPP was the only one in the country with exclusive powers, whose actions on whether to further prosecute a matter or not, should be respected because he does that under constitutional provisions.
He said LAZ was supposed to be operating as a statutory body with specific obligations under the law by providing guidance and not like non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“LAZ should learn to accept the opinion of the DPP. It is his opinion that matters and not anybody else’s, when the DPP makes a decision unless there is evidence of it being tainted. Otherwise nobody’s decision is as vital as his, who are we to question it? We must respect that. LAZ doesn’t have constitutional powers,” he said.
Mr Sangwa said the only time one could question the DPP’s move was when there was enough evidence that his decision was tainted or influenced.
He said in the current debate, LAZ could only question the DPP’s actions to withdraw second Republican president, Frederick Chiluba’s appeal if it had enough evidence that the DPP’s action was tainted.
“The only time you can question the DPP’s move is when you have evidence that he did not make his decisions independently, if he was bribed or coerced, then his decision was tainted, this can only be challenged in the courts of law and not in the Press,” he said.
He said LAZ was well aware of all legal procedures and wondered why it had decided to speak through the media and yet taking the matter to court was not a difficult thing to do as both parties would be given time to exculpate themselves accordingly.
He said the DPP would be given an opportunity to inform the court if his decision was tainted or coerced as well as LAZ and that the court would be allowed to make a ruling, which ruling should be accepted by both parties.
“If there are grounds for LAZ to impeach the decision of the DPP, the best is to move the court, ask it to quash the decision of the DPP against the appeal of Dr Chiluba and then compel him to appeal.
Courtesy of Times of Zambia

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