Filed under: Statements |

HH beatA CLASSIFIED document on the constitution-making process road map has allegedly been stolen from the Ministry of Justice and leaked to the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), chief government spokesperson Joseph Katema has revealed.

But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said in an interview that Government must blame itself for leaked documents because civil servants are dissatisfied with the Patriotic Front (PF) administration.

Dr Katema said this crime requires immediate thorough probe by the police and subsequent court action.

“I wish to inform the nation that a serious criminal act has been committed at the Ministry of Justice where some misguided persons have illegally released a classified document to the opposition UPND,” he said in the statement issued yesterday.

Dr Katema, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said when Minister of Justice and now Patriotic Front presidential candidate Edgar Lungu was appointed Minister of Justice, he released the final draft constitution to Parliament in just two months of being in the office and allowed members of Parliament (MPs) to go through the document and make recommendations in consultation with their constituents.

Dr Katema said Mr Lungu, at the time, also constituted a technical team to advice on how to move the process forward in order to fulfil the wishes of Zambians that have been calling for a new people-driven constitution.

“I regret to inform you that this document that was to chart a progressive way forward has been stolen and subsequently released to the public even when it is a bona-fide government document that would normally require clearance before being released to the public,” Dr Katema said.

He said Government has taken the crime very seriously and would like the police to vigorously investigate the matter and take the perpetrators to court.

The minister said Government finds the behaviour of UPND unprofessional by taking credit for the work done by the Ministry of Justice.

“As a Government, we work on the basis of integrity and such desperate actions raise serious question of lack integrity on the part of the UPND. No wonder they are far away from a position where they can be trusted with the responsibility to run government,” Dr Katema said

He explained that only the PF has 81 MPs and the support of 26 others from the opposition, enough to pass the constitution in Parliament for clauses that do not require a referendum.

“The UPND, which is encouraging illegal acts at the Ministry of Justice, cannot pass any law because it has only 27 MPs. The UPND cannot even form the bare minimum quorum of 53 required for Parliamentary business to take place,” Dr Katema said

But Mr Kakoma said his party has not released any documents and the one in circulation has been leaked by civil servants.

“This Government is so porous. People working for it no longer trust it and so they have been leaking documents. Government should blame itself,” Mr Kakoma said

He said the civil servants are allegedly not happy with the PF government and have resorted to leaking documents.

“You will recall that when the final draft was not released, civil servants leaked it and they have done the same this time,” Mr Kakoma said