Lawyer Ralph Kasambara says the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) is the only one mandated to confirm the Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and such power cannot be taken over by the whole National Assembly.
Earlier this week, PAC voted against the confirmation of Martha Chizuma as Director of the ACB.
There have been calls for President Lazarus Chakwera to resubmit Chizuma’s name to PAC, for Parliament to produce report on what transpired during the hearing process and for the whole Parliament to deliberate on the confirmation of the ACB director.
But Kasambara has faulted all these suggestions saying they are not consistent with the law.
“The law grants power to PAC to confirm the director of ACB. It does not say PAC should produce a report. Where the law wants the whole house to confirm an appointee the law does not shy from saying so.
“In other words, in the wisdom of the National Assembly and the President the confirmation of director of ACB is PAC business and only PAC should do that. Any attempt to arrogate that power to the National Assembly must have some statutory underpinning. So far, I have found none,” he wrote.
He added that it is not fair and right to ask the President to resubmit Martha Chizuma name.
“The law does not grant the President that right. It’s what judges would call abuse of Parliamentary process. Just like in court you are not allowed to have a second bite at the cherry so goes with confirmation process. It’s one of those sad realities,” he said.
Kasambara also argued that what has happened to Martha Chizuma is not a first. He gave the examples of Mary Nangwale and Atuweni Juwayeyi whose appointments were rejected by PAC.
“Examples abound from USA and Nigeria where there is also confirmation process by legislature of certain executive appointments. As courts and scholars have emphasized the process is political and not justiciable,” he said.