Zambia Council for Social Development executive director Leah Mitaba says ministers and members of parliament who fail to pay back what the Constitutional Court ordered them to pay back should be prosecuted and banned from contesting the 2021 elections.
Mitaba has called on ministers and members of parliament to honour and respect the rule of law for which they are sworn to uphold when taking office by paying back the emoluments they received after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016.
The Constitutional Court last month ruled that the 64 former cabinet ministers and their deputies who received emoluments after the dissolution of Parliament in 2016 should pay back over K54,000 each to the State within 30 days.
“So last week, I gathered that only three ministers that stayed in office drawing salaries when they should have not, have honoured the court judgment to pay back money and allowances they drew. One of them, well-wishers have paid for him. Another well-wisher would be paying for another minister,” she said. “You will recall that after the judgment was passed, several ministers took to the media bragging about how they will not pay back, to which the President, through his press office, issued a statement calling on his ministers to pay back and respect the court ruling.”
Mitaba said the presidential policy pronouncement had clearly been disregarded.
“And I wonder if the Head of State has noticed this and I am hoping to see his next action. If ministers can refuse to pay back money belonging to the majority poor Zambians, for whom they claim to be in office for, can these be trusted even with another term in office?” she asked. “This is your call and mine to critically look at and ensure that we call on our ministers, MPs, to honour and respect the rule of law for which they are sworn to uphold when taking office.”
Mitaba called for the prosecution of the defaulters and that they be banned from contesting the 2021 elections.
“They should not be allowed to stand because they have eroded public confidence to uphold the law they are supposed to be legislators of,” said Mitaba. “MPs are supposed to be the lawmakers and not law breakers so if the judiciary passes a judgment, as in this case, MPs must be in the forefront of leading by example in respecting the court orders.”
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