State House Press Aide Amos Chanda says there is no chance in hell that the impeachment motion moved by the opposition UPND will succeed, unless they use Freemason powers, because they do not have the required number parliamentarians to support it.
And Chanda says the impeachment motion has poisoned the atmosphere for dialogue and that the presidency does not think there can be a useful conversation with unreasonable people who are trying to narrow the democratic space in the country.
The UPND has moved a motion in Parliament seeking to impeach President Edgar Lungu on grounds that, among other things, he violated the provisions of Article 104 (3) of the Constitution by refusing to handover executive powers to the Speaker of the National Assembly in August 2016 after his election was challenged through a petition in the courts of law.
The UPND also charge that the Head of State violated the provisions of Article 122 of the Constitution on November 2, 2017 when he interfered in the independence of the judiciary in a statement directed at the Constitutional Court in relation to his illegibility case – a matter that was pending before court.
But Chanda told journalists at a press briefing at State House today that the only way the motion would succeed was if PF members of parliament decided to impeach their own President.
“You need two thirds majority in Parliament for the impeachment motion to succeed. You need one third to simply put on the table for academic purposes, which is what the UPND are doing. The action is ill-fated, it’s defective and it contains accusations full of rumour and gossip which do not even deserve to be in Parliament. It is only of nuisance value because the numbers clearly do not favour the success of the UPND,” Chanda said.
Asked if the President was mindful of the fact that there were some PF members of parliament who were not supportive of President Lungu’s leadership, Chanda said even with the support of PF rebel MPs, UPND would still not succeed.
“Its an action by desperate people just to undermine the democratic institution and to narrow the democratic space available for dialogue. In the petition they have included Mr Chishimba Kambwili who is a leader of the NDC but masquerading as member of the PF. They have also included Honourable Harry Kalaba, but in there he hasn’t signed,” Chanda said.
“But even if Honourable Kalaba and Honourable Kambwili voted with them, they still need the spirit of Freemasons to be able to get the 112 [vote threshold]. I think they are relying on some spiritual intervention somewhere to get to 112. There is no way. The Chief Whip has briefed the President and the entire front page and back page of the PF is solidly there and eager for this thing to come so that they can deal with it.”
Asked if President Lungu would peacefully concede defeat and step down in an event that the motion was to succeed, Chanda said: “It cannot happen, there is no chance in hell that it can go through. Not even the PF has the numbers to do this. The only way this can happen is for the PF to want to impeach their own President; otherwise there is no chance in hell.”
He added that the motion had jeopardized the dialogue process.
“The impeachment motion puts the dialogue process in jeopardy. The atmosphere for dialogue has been poisoned. There cannot be useful conversations with people so unreasonable that they are attacking the very process they want to bring,”