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Zambia’s ICC roadmap democratic

NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
MINISTER of Justice Given Lubinda says Government decided to consult citizens on whether Zambia should withdraw membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it wants to incorporate citizens and enhance its democratic credentials.
And Mr Lubinda says there is no dispute between Government and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) because the two are enjoying a cordial relationship.
Speaking when he featured on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation’s Sunday Interview programme on Sunday night, Mr Lubinda said President Lungu wants Zambians to decide on the matter because he does not want to impose decisions on the people.
“Usually, normal clients for the ICC are politicians and cabinet is full of politicians and if it [Cabinet] decided Zambia’s position, it would have been misunderstood,” he said.
He said Government wants to avert the anxiety of making decisions without consulting.
Mr Lubinda cited South Africa, which was sued by some citizens for pulling out of the ICC without consulting them, as a situation which Zambia wants to avoid.
When asked if the K2 million being spent on the consultation process is not too much, Mr Lubinda said the exercise is huge and important and needed more funding.
“I wonder why some people are questioning the consultative process. if we did not consult, they would have been the first ones to condemn us,” Mr Lubinda said.
The minister said President Lungu has accorded Zambians their democratic right to decide the way forward because there are two schools of thought regarding Zambia’s membership to the ICC.
“One school of thought says President Lungu wants to pull out of the ICC because he wants to commit atrocities; the other one says the President wants Zambia to remain a member of the ICC so that he can take UPND president Hakainde Hichilema there. So that’s why Government wants the citizens to decide,” he said.
He said the consultative process on whether Zambia should stay in the ICC is expected to end this Friday after covering 30 districts.
Mr Lubinda said after submissions have been compiled, a national symposium will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday next week before a report can be written for presentation to Cabinet early next month.
“We want President Lungu to go with Zambia’s position on the ICC as he attends the African Union [summit] in June/July this year. We will go with what the people want and not what Government wants. it is a matter of people’s rights and liberties,” he said.
Mr Lubinda urged the citizens not to be discouraged from making submissions on Zambia’s position at the ICC.
And Mr Lubinda says Government and LAZ are enjoying a cordial relationship.
He said LAZ is like an extension of the Ministry of Justice and the two have been working well together.
“We have had several meetings with LAZ and we have had no acrimonies with them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Lubinda said President Lungu is committed to seeing to it that people’s rights are enhanced through another process other than the costly referendum.
He said Government is looking at other ways of ensuring that people enjoy human rights to the maximum.



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