UPND CAN’T ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY – LUBINDA

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By CHARLES MUSONDA 

The death penalty cannot be abolished by a mere amendment of the Penal Code and the bragging by President Hakainde Hichilema that Parliament would soon amend the law is but political window dressing, Given Lubinda has charged.

Mr Lubinda, the Patriotic Front (PF) acting president says the UPND government should stop window dressing and instead concentrate on matters affecting Zambian such as high cost of living and the failure to deliver and distribute cheap fertiliser.

In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr. Lubinda said the UPND government’s idea of going to Parliament to amend the Penal Code to abolish the Death Penalty was basically an act to hoodwink Zambians because the law was enshrined in Article 12 of the Constitution.

He stated that the death Penalty law was enshrined in the Constitution and its abolishment could therefore not be via an amendment of the Penal Code.

Mr Lubinda, the former Justice Minister stated that the death penalty was provided for in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Zambia and could not be abolished by way of amending the Penal Code.

He said the UPND government could not therefore amend the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights through subsidiary legislation such as the Penal Code.

Mr Lubinda said if the government wanted to amend or abolish the Death Sentence, the normal procedure was to use the Constitution and not the Penal Code as was being suggested. 

Mr. Lubinda said Part III of the Constitution provided for the Death Penalty and should the UPND government go ahead and amend the Penal Code, they would not have abolished the Death Penalty. 

He said any law that was inconsistent with the Constitution was null and void to the extent of inconsistency, and that this was the same with the idea to domesticate the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Mr Lubinda said the UPND government should not play on people’s minds and make themselves as though they were more concerned with people’s rights than previous governments. 

He said the reason previous governments, from UNIP, did not domesticate the African Charter on human and people’s rights was because the rights that were enshrined in the Charter were not justiciable in Zambia in accordance with the Constitution of Zambia. 

He said if the government really wanted to domesticate the Charter, they first should ensure that they amended Part III of the Constitution of Zambia, which was the Bill of Rights. 

“Otherwise, they will domesticate but they will not be able to implement and it will therefore remain a cosmetic domestication. Let them bear in mind that Article 1 itself speaks to the need for a state party to adapt or adopt legislative and other administrative measures to bring it into effect,” Mr Lubinda said.

Mr. Lubinda appealed to the UPND to stop abusing Parliament by taking Bills to the House which they knew would not have any effect, adding that it is a waste of public money because members of Parliament are sitting and debating issues that have no consequence. 

He said MPs must be allowed to debate important issues like timely provision of farming inputs to the people and how government leaders were awarding contracts to their own companies to audit security wings of government.

“Issues of lack of development, the nonfunctional Constituency Development Fund, the emergence of same sex marriages in Zambia, and the abduction of girls which President Hichilema later on referred to as gender based violence but it is a criminal offence under the Penal Code is what should preoccupy among citizens,” Mr Lubinda said.

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