FINNISH Ambassador to Zambia Timo Olkkonen has advised President Edgar Lungu and all Zambians to respect the Law Association of Zambia and allow it to discharge its duties professionally.
The Ambassador told Radio Phoenix today that it was wrong for President Lungu to attack the professional body, which was executing its duties professionally.
He has since advised the Head of State, as a democratic leader, to leave room for diverse opinions from stakeholders.
I think in a democracy, there should be room for other opinions; I think antagonising those people that may have other opinions…I have a lot of respect for the Law Association [of Zambia]…
said Ambassador Olkkonen.
Last Tuesday, President Lungu challenged LAZ to form a political party unlike “abusing” the law profession to which he belonged.
Speaking to journalists at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport before he departed for Swaziland, President Lungu told LAZ to form a political party and then take him on.
Where are the lawyers? Where are the lawyers in this country? If the lawyers want to form a political party, let them go ahead and form a political party-let them not abuse the profession [because] it’s a noble one! For me, I challenge them to form a political party; but let then not abuse the profession, okay!
said President Lungu.
“If they want to take me on, on that one they can take me on [because] there is so much politics in the Law Association of Zambia. If they (LAZ) want to form a political party, let them go ahead but to abuse a noble profession like the law profession where I belong, it’s unacceptable! Bye bye.”
A day before President Lungu’s attacks, LAZ, through its president Linda Kasonde, told journalists at a media briefing in Lusaka that any exercise of executive power during the threatened state of public emergency must be reasonable.
The association added that the executive should have also been reluctant to invoke Article 31 despite such power being given to the President under the Constitution. It further clarified that this threatened state of public emergency could not extend beyond three months as there was no power of extension under Article 31, views which have unsettled the PF.