By MARTIN AKENDE and AARON CHIYANZO
A BITTER row has erupted in the legal fraternity over the decision by Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa to hire lawyers to sue President Edgar Lungu, an action not supported by a general meeting as previously agreed.
Lawyers have expressed outrage that a decision of such magnitude was taken without consultation.
They contend that Mr Mwitwa has no powers to make such a decision without consulting the general membership.
Lusaka lawyer and State Counsel Chifumu Banda says LAZ members did not convene as earlier agreed to interrogate and scrutinise the content of the Constitution Amendment Bill number 10 to make an official position.
Mr Banda said during an interview on Millennium Radio that members of the LAZ had earlier met for a consultative meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in which it was agreed that another meeting be convened to come up with the official position on the bill.
“At our earlier consultative meeting we resolved that LAZ should convene another meeting so we interrogate the content of the Constitutional Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 in order to decide the official position of the association” Mr Banda said.
Lusaka-based lawyer Hobday Kabwe says the action by Mr Mwitwa is a recipe for anarchy and an abuse of judicial processes.
Mr Kabwe said under the current Constitution, the President cannot be sued for any legal battle while he is in office.
He said such conduct from a professional body such as LAZ should not be tolerated.
“How can they sue a sitting head of State? No, that is abusive,” he said.
Another Lusaka-based lawyer, Sakwiba Sikota, who is also State Counsel said he was not aware of any constitutional provision that allowed a sitting President to be sued.
Mr Sikota, however, could not comment on the position LAZ had taken.
Another lawyer, Chrisantius Changwereza, said LAZ had a hidden agenda.
Mr Changwereza said the President had immunity from proceedings and that LAZ was well aware of that fact.
LAZ has sued President Lungu, Attorney General and the National Assembly over the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Constitutional Court.
The association has also petitioned the Speaker of the National Assembly to halt the enactment process of the bill pending hearing of the court process by the Constitutional Court. On Monday Government Deputy Chief Whip Tutwa Ngulube condemned LAZ for allowing the United Party for National Development (UPND) to use it in its fight against President Edgar Lungu and the constitution refinement process.