STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Justice Given Lubinda says Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lilian Siyuni does not get instructions from anyone because she is only answerable to the Constitution and herself.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Lubinda described assertions that Ms Siyuni takes instructions from higher political offices as unfortunate.
The minister’s comment comes in the wake of sustained media attacks on the DPP’s office by Professor Muna Ndulo and other sections of society.
“Prof Ndulo should be the first person to know that the Constitution makes the DPP only answerable to itself. The office of the DPP is not answerable to anyone,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said before the Constitution was amended, the DPP was amenable to seeking advice from the Attorney General but that this is no longer the case.
He said as a matter of fact, Prof Ndulo was among the people who attended the National Constitution Conference (NCC) which sat to remove any possibility of interference by the executive in the work of the DPP.
“How can they accuse the executive of interfering with the office of the DPP? It’s very clear that the DPP is not answerable to anyone or any individual, including Prof Ndulo himself,” he said.
Mr Lubinda has found it awkward that when a matter is ruled in some people’s favour, they do not talk about the judge having been influenced, but when they lose cases they claim the judge was influenced.
“Even those people who keep complaining about the judiciary, they are the ones who want to influence judgments in their favour by making all sorts of unsubstantiated accusations.
“I have not heard any incident where the executive tells the DPP what to do. The DPP makes her own independent decisions,” the minister said.
Mr Lubinda said those accusing the DPP of being influenced by politicians must produce tangible evidence to substantiate their claims.
“There is a growing tendency by some academicians to make baseless accusations without any evidence. This must come to an end,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Lubinda says the United Party for National Development (UPND) should blame itself for the invocation of Article 31 of the Constitution.
“The UPND is to blame for some of the articles in the Constitution. They had an opportunity to amend it [Article 31] during the NCC but they passed it. Probably they were sleeping and so they didn’t read what they were passing,” Mr Lubinda said.
He said Zambia is a democracy which is governed by the Constitution.
Mr Lubinda was responding to assertions by UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma, who said his party will always feel oppressed as long as the invocation of Article 31 of the Constitution is in place.