PEOPLE’s Party leader Mike Mulongoti says Public Protector Caroline Sokoni is a coward who has been avoiding meeting him on his concerns regarding President Edgar Lungu’s identity.
Mulongoti, who on March 7 wrote to the Public Protector seeking an inquiry, determination and recommendation on President Lungu’s identity, said he was dissatisfied her the response.
He said Sokoni’s letter addressed a matter of the parentage clause being left out of the current Constitution as opposed to the inquiry on whether he [President Lungu] qualified to be a candidate in all elections he stood in.
“I have been to her office on more than four occasions but she has avoided to meet me on all these occasions. She has made me wait then afterwards her workers came. The last time I went there, we had to have a conversation almost off record because they were seeking to hear me on what I was asking for but she never had an opportunity to meet me. She avoided me all the time,” Mulongoti said.
He said the Public Protector’s investigation as guided by his letter should have included whether President Lungu was legitimately in the office as a State officer.
“When she responded to my letter, at law they say do not answer a question you have not been asked so she wrote advising me that I should have petitioned this matter during the time of election but this man (Lungu) has been participating in elections…as MP, as President in 2015, as President in 2016, so I do not know which election she was asking me to go to…. and that was not my question. My question was for her to do an inquiry on the identity of the gentleman who is a public officer. I did emphasise in my letter that he is a State officer by the current Constitution so her investigation should have included whether he was legitimately in the office as a State officer, President because if his identity was defective, then he did not qualify.”
Mulongoti maintained that Sokoni had not done the work she was paid to do and questioned the source of her inadequacy.
He further urged Sokoni to parade President Lungu’s ‘relatives’ and have them swear affidavits that indeed they were his relatives.
“If she had done an inquiry, it was expected that at that inquiry we would have requested her to go back to 2015 to find out whether he qualified to be a candidate at that time because it said both parents were supposed to be Zambian. He went on to amend the Constitution to remove the parentage clause which he celebrated himself, meaning that 2015 it challenged him…these are questions we are asking and wanted her to help us but what she has done – as all good cowards – is to avoid issues. They want to pretend they are doing their job when they are not. All I can say is that the matter cannot die because it’s no longer a matter for me alone. I have so many people who are interested in this issue who would want it taken to a logical conclusion,” Mulongoti said adding; “If she wanted to be fair to Mr Lungu, she should have advised Mr Lungu to parade all his relatives at her office so that they would swear affidavits to support claims that they are his relatives. But she has allowed him to parade them in the bush and all over. How does that help me when I was demanding for an inquiry? She has not done her job. She told me she wanted to investigate how the parentage clause was removed from the Constitution but is that what my interest was? I am dissatisfied. I will formally write to her over the matter and was expecting her to check herself but it would appear she has no interest in checking herself, so we will remind her. This is cowardice. Why avoid me, because I went to her official office. She never met me, what does that imply?”
Mulongo further noted that Sokoni’s authority as Public Protector has not been confirmed because she has not been ratified yet.
He said the Constitution provides for the appointment of the Public Protector on recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and subject to ratification by Parliament but that that has not been done for Sokoni.
“Maybe she is inadequate because she has not been ratified and confirmed. If that is her position she would have told me than pretend that all was well when she didn’t have the proper authority…so the person in that office has not been appointed formerly and has not been ratified by Parliament. She has held office before as investigator general but this Public Protector is a new creation in the new amended Constitution,” said Mulongoti.