By MacDonald Chipenzi
CAN A PRESIDENT APPOINT MINISTERS WHEN PARLIAMENT IS STILL IN DISSOLUTION ?
Since parliament dissolved in May this year to pave way for the General Election, it has not been reconvened and is still in dissolution.
Can then the President appoint ministers from among the members of Parliament who are still dissolved?
In my humble view, this can be an anomaly and a break of the Constitution on the appointment of Cabinet.
The President can name the people he wishes to appoint but if the Constitutional Court Judgment is to be followed, Ministers cannot hold office when Parliament is dissolved.
In any case, the Standing Orders of Parliament also support this view that parliamentarians have to first take an oath of allegiance when the House first seats.
First business is the election of the Speakers who takes oath before the President and then members of Parliament before the Speaker then for that day business is suspended awaiting the presidential summon for presidential address.
Standing Orders of Parliament 2005 i believe were amended in 2016 But didnt deviate from this norm state in part;
The Speaker-elect, accompanied by his or her proposer and seconder and other members of the House, shall, as soon as may be, present himself or herself to the President for presidential APPROBATION and shall TAKE and SUBSCRIBE the OATH.
On his or her return, he or she shall report these facts to the Assembly.
The SPEAKER and MEMBERS shall then TAKE and SUBSCRIBE the OATH or AFFIRMATION OF ALLEGIANCE.
(17) When ALL the MEMBER’S HAVE TAKE or SUBSCRIBED the OATH the House then adjourns until the time the President will address the House.
This is just to buttress my earlier post which cde counsel Mushya wanted me to delete it alleging it is misleading though he has not yet given me his thrust in terms of clauses supporting his contra argument FROM MINE. AM STILL WAITING THOUGH.
If is following former President EDGAR CHAGWA Lungu’s style of doing things and disrespect of the Constitution, then yes the President can proceed to appoint ministers by precedence.
Former President EDGAR CHAGWA Lungu appointed his partial cabinet on 14 Sept 2016 barely a day of being sworn in when those appointed had not taken an oath of allegiance since PARLIAMENT reassembled on 24 Sept for election of the Speakers and taking of OATHS by the Speakers and MPs.
As we speak now, the Parliament stands dissolved so where will the PRESIDENT get the MPs to appoint as Cabinet ministers?
If he does the appointment now than waiting for the relevant oaths are taken by the prospective appointees, this, in my view, would be the start of the disrespect of the Constitution by the President.
There is no need to rush the new president to appoint Cabinet outside the normal. We are in the NEW DAWN where the rule of law is our portion.