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Ministers cannot remove president – LAZ

VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
CABINET ministers cannot remove an acting president for any reason other than a lack of mental or physical capacity to discharge executive functions, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) vice-president Linda Kasonde has said.
Ms Kasonde said in a statement yesterday that ministers cannot properly constitute a Cabinet meeting in the absence of the president, acting or substantive.
“LAZ wishes to emphasise that its mandate is to uphold and protect the constitution and the rule of law in any event and it will do so whenever the sanctity of the Constitution is under threat,” Ms Kasonde said.
She said according to article 36 (i) of the constitution, the only ground upon which a president can be removed from office is that he or she does not have sufficient mental or physical capacity to discharge functions of that office.
“If it is found by the majority of members of cabinet that the president, acting or substantive, lacks such capacity as stated in article 36 (i), then an investigation must be conducted through a medical board appointed by the chief justice,” Ms Kasonde said.
She said cabinet merely initiates the process by informing the Chief Justice that an investigation be conducted but the ultimate authority for removal from office rests with the National Assembly by a two thirds majority vote on the decision of the medical board.
Ms Kasonde said the primary function of Cabinet is to formulate government policy and it is responsible for advising the president.
She said cabinet cannot be constituted in the absence of the president, substantive or acting.
“Any meeting of cabinet ministers, in the absence of the substantive or acting president, does not amount to a duly constituted Cabinet meeting. It could best be described as an informal meeting of cabinet ministers,” Ms Kasonde said.
Fourteen Cabinet on Tuesday passed a vote-of-no-confidence in acting President Guy Scott and directed the Secretary to Cabinet to convene a meeting to discuss his possible replacement.



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