IT’S A PRINCIPLE
…Benefits accrue because one has served as Republican President not because of his political status…
Lawyers for Zambia’s Sixth President, Edgar Lungu have written to the Attorney General for Government to reinstate and provide for his full benefits as he served as Zambia’s President and the benefits accrue to him because of that principle.
It must be stated that former President Edgar Lungu can adequately provide for himself and his family, but the principle of the law was to provide for pensions and benefits to one that has served as Republican President.
Further withdrawal of his benefits infringes his fundamental and constitutional rights and freedoms of expression, association, and holding thoughts and opinions.
Below is the demand letter written to the Attorney General by his letters.
RE: WITHDRAWAL OF PENSION AND OTHER BENEFITS FROM THE SIXTH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA
We refer to the above and advise that we act for Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the 6th President of the Republic of Zambia (our client).
We draw your atention to a letter dated 30th October 2023 from the acting Secretary to the Cabinet which was copied to you (enclosed for ease of reference), wherein our client was informed that Government has with immediate effect from 1st November 2023, withdrawn the pension and other benefits conferred by the Benefits of Fomer President Act Cap 15 as read together with the Benefils of Former Presidents Act No. 21 of 1998, from our client.
The aforementioned government action was ostensibly pursuant to sections 2 and 3 of the Benefits of Former Presidents (Amendments) Act, 1998 No. 21 of 1998, and apparently instigated by our client’s announcement that he returned to active politics on 28th October 2023, whilst attending the 9th Memorial Anniversary for the late Fifth Republican President, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata.
The position that our client should lose his pension and other benefits, on account of indicating an intention to hold elective or appointive office, or if he actualy holds elective or appointive office, in a polilical party, imposes resticions or disadvantages on our client, which restictions or disadvantages are not imposed on other reirees or other persons who have either completed their fixed term engagements or contracts (of employmen), You will no doubt agree that judges of the superíor courts in Zambia, constitutonal office holders, Members of Parliament, Direclors, chief executive officers in public, quasi – government and private sector, are not subjected to such onerous restrictions.
You will appreciate that the impugned provisions of the law (referred to above) fly in the teeth of Articles 20, 21 and 23 of the Constitution, which protects and guarantees our client’s rights to freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of among other, political opinion.
We have taken the liberty to re – acquaint ourselves with the derogations allowed under Article 20, 21 and 23 of the Constitution and can confirm that the restrictions which are imposed on our client by the Benefits of Former Presidents Act
Former Presidents (Amendment) Act, No. 21 of 1998 are outside the realim of allowable derogations, and that they are not reasonably justifiable in a democraic society.
Please note further that, pension and other benefits due to a person who has served in any office, are an accrued right for which the person to whom they accrue, has already provided consideration in that he has already laboured for those benefits. Such benefits can not subsequently be taken away on account of events that occur long after a person has ceased to hold office. In casu, it’s been over two (2) years since our client ceased to hold the office of Republican President.
In the circumstances and in the view of the conspicuous and blatant violations of our client’s constitutionally protected and guaranteed fundamental human rights and freedoms, we urge your good offce, being the custodian and chief defender of public interests, to prevail upon the Secretary to the Cabinet, so as to have the full compliments of pension and other benefits due to our client, reinstated.
We also urge you to ensure that section 4A of the Benefits of Former President (Amendmen) Act, No. 21 of 1998, is immediately implemented by the assigning to our client a furnished executive house to be buit or bought by the State at a place of our client’s choice, as it is over the prescribed 2 years since our client ceased to hold office of Republican President.
Our client has also informed us that the State had neglected to avail him the full compliments of the pension and other benefits due to him even before the withdrawal of benefits was effected.
Going forward, our client demands that the State accords him the full compliments of the benefits he is entitled to, including a fully functional Sixth Republican President’s office, vehicles and a full staff compliment as provided for in the relevant legislation.
Please note that should we not receive reasonable representations on the steps taken to reinstate the pension and other benefits due to our client, within 3 days hereof, our instructions are to instilute appropriate court proceedings to safeguard our client’s fundamental rights and interests herein.