Unlike the lifting of Immunity of Chiluba and RB which was done with ease in Parliament, the law has now changed since 2016- Dickson Jere

Dickson Jere

*By Dickson Jere*

Unlike the lifting of Immunity of former President Frederick Chiluba (2002) and Rupiah Banda (2013) which was done with ease in Parliament, the law has now changed since 2016. See Article 98 of the Constitution.

In Chiluba and Banda cases, a wide range of unsubstantiated allegations were made in Parliament, which prompted MPs to lift Presidential immunity without verification of the allegations. And it was by mere simple majority vote by Parliament! But now the law has changed. The following pointers must now be followed for lifting Immunity:

1. It is the sitting President himself who should go to Parliament and present a Report detailing the specific allegations against former President. (Rupiah Banda was done by Minister of Justice).

2. The allegations must be specific and Parliament is obliged to set-up a special Committee to probe the allegations before tabling them in the House unlike in the Chiluba and Banda case.

3. The former President, unlike previous, is allowed to challenge and be heard at Parliament before lifting of immunity. So, if the allegations are fake, the Committee will inform Parliament and the whole process fails! Lawyers get involved at this stage like in the US during congressional hearing of impeachment of the President.

4. If the Committee finds that the allegations are valid, Parliament will still has to vote for lifting of immunity and the motion requires two-thirds majority unlike in Chiluba and Banda cases where you just needed simple majority.

5. Once immunity is lifted, the former President ought to charged with those specific charges or alleged offences that Parliament approved and nothing else. In both Chiluba and Banda cases, they were charged with other unrelated offences not presented to Parliament.

6. If acquitted by the Courts, immunity is given back automatically by operation of law unlike in the Chiluba and Banda cases.

The effect of the above entails that the former President must be investigated first and prima facie case found against him before contemplating to lift immunity. There is no law that stops law enforcement agencies from investigating former President but prosecution. The process has now been lengthened following the unsuccessful prosecution of Chiluba and Banda. No ordinary MP or Minister can move Parliament to remove immunity unlike in the past. It must be President.


  1. When the Corrupt are in power, they bend the Law to forever cover themselves with!
    Some get to the point of misbehaving with impunity because they realize they will be hard to catch.
    It’s good to have good due process but just as ZRA is not able to Audit and tax the mines properly, our Adulterated Constitution is equally not helpful when it comes to investigating a misbehaving former head of state!
    Tiyeni tizipase ulemu chabe.
    Ndise Nkote, banthu bakulu who need to show good example to young citizens!
    If we don’t respect ourselves as leaders, our country is doomed!

  2. Mr Jere, perhaps your reading into the presidential immunity is a bit misplaced. Immunity only covers crimes committed when one is a sitting president. When you leave office and you start committing crimes you’re not covered. Even with your explanation removing immunity on Lungu with his current conduct is not insurmountable. He can’t commit Treason and hide in immunity. It’s moot.

  3. The new law if correctly interpreted by Dickson is good. The UPND government should keep it that way. Previously, all it took was The Post newspaper to write disparaging opinions/editorials peppered with a few, incomplete ( not fully investigated) snippets from informers in law enforcement agencies to ruin, disparage, humiliate and try a former heads of state via a tabloid. I personally detest Lungu’s legacy of misrule & will never forgive the ruin he has brought to our country. But let the law be applied fairly. Chiluba was far from perfect but he was accused , investigated, prosecuted and convicted by Fred mmembe’s Post newspaper. A grave miscarriage of justice. The Daily nation is one such rogue newspaper. Its a paper with a political mission. Far from reporting cold hard facts. Lungu’s antics are not helping to rid our country of humiliating former President’s. But let’s avoid getting whipped up with emotional responses triggered by rogue media and tribal/regional sentiments. Take note of those whipping up this destructive agenda

  4. The requirements for removal of a former President’s immunity are in my view fair except for the two thirds majority on the parliamentary vote. This should have remained a simple majority because if a prima facie case has been established after investigations, why such an onerous demand?

    Mr. Lungu knows that the two thirds majority requirement might be a tall order in the current parliament. However, this should not stop the Law Enforcement Agencies from thoroughly investigating the sudden wealth of the former president and his family so that when the time is ripe, his prosecution will be a walk in the park.

    We know that he stole big through his philosophy of “uubomba mwibala, alya mwibala”.

    • Are you aware of the “Pyramid of need “ concept? This affects all needy persons like you- most of Zambians. You are therefore potential victims whenever opportunities to serve others arise.
      Your friends are already operating the concept- stealing!!!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here