Press Release dated Wednesday 13th January 2020 Regarding the Failure of Public Officers to comply with the Requirement to Declare Assets and Liabilities Under the Ministerial Code Of Conduct
By Linda Kasonde, Executive Director
Chapter One Foundation
Chapter One Foundation Limited is a non-governmental organization that promotes and protects human rights, human rights defenders, constitutionalism, social justice, and the rule of law in Zambia, primarily through strategic litigation, advocacy, and capacity building. Our aim is to promote and protect the Constitution and the rights included in it and by so doing, free the space for Zambians to fully participate in the democratic governance of the country.
Accountability, transparency, and respect for the rule of law are central tenets of democratic governance. It is for this reason that Section 10 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act Chapter 16 of the Laws of Zambia states in mandatory terms that any person holding a Ministerial and/or other specified public office must make annual declarations of their assets, liabilities, total income, and the sources of their income. These declarations are to be entered in a register which is under the custodianship of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia and which register may be inspected by members of the public.
We note that while the standard of declarations is clearly spelled out by the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, several public office holders who are obligated to make declarations have either made inconsistent declarations that do not comply with their statutory mandate or have not made any declarations at all since their appointment to public office. The failure of public officers to make declarations of their income and the sources of that income to the standard required by law is a breach of their statutory duty.
In this regard, Chapter One Foundation has made an official complaint to her Ladyship the Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia citing the Ministers who have been non-compliant and requesting that an investigation be launched into these breaches by holders of public office. In addition, Chapter One wishes to commend Minister of Justice, Honourable Given Lubinda, who has consistently made declarations to the standard required by the law.
Chapter One Foundation urges holders of public office to abide by the standard to which the law holds them and make declarations that comply with the provisions of section 10 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act. We remain committed to the protecting the constitution and the rights of Zambians to demand accountability and transparency in the governance of their country.
Linda Kasonde, Executive Director
Chapter One Foundation