Lungu ends lavish presidential retirement benefits


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu proposed to change the law that requires the Government to build a house for former presidents as a cost-saving measure and promotion of equity among constitutional office bearers.
Mr Lungu said building a house for every former head of state was not only unsustainable for a developing country like Zambia but also unfair as it excluded other constitutional office bearers.
“In pursuit of the virtues of equity and our aspiration for a smart Zambia, I wish to announce changes to the law that provides for benefits for retired presidents.
“We have to demonstrate the strong commitment to cost-saving measures for now and for the future. I am proposing that this forfeiture takes effect starting with me,” said Mr Lungu amid applause from members of Parliament (MPs).
The President said when he opened the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly in Lusaka yesterday that the forfeiture of the house benefit should start with him.
He noted that the Former Presidents Benefits Act does not take into account the issue of long-term sustainability and ordered the review to put it into conformity with international best practices.
Mr Lungu also directed Justice Minister Ngosa Simyakula and his counterpart for Home Affairs Davies Mwila to facilitate the amendment of the Public Order Act.
“I am further directing the ministers responsible for Justice after consultation with political parties through the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue to prepare and present a Bill to this August House to regulate and protect the right of political parties to freely regulate,” he said.
Mr Lungu said the Government’s commitment to deliver a people driven constitution remained unwavering as demonstrated by the release of the draft document and publication of 2015 Amendment Bill set for presentation during the current sitting.
He urged Zambians to take keen interest in the Bill and engage their MPs to ensure that their views were well represented and considered during the debate in Parliament.
Mr Lungu emphasised that the decision to present the non-contentious clauses for enactment was informed by the real danger of losing even progressive and non-contentious provision in the draft constitution in the referendum.
The Government has amended the Referendum Act in anticipation of the referendum that would be held along with the 2016 general elections to enhance chances of making the process successful.
Mr Lungu assured that the fight against corruption by his administration was still alive and warned that he would not protect
anyone serving in public offices from being investigated or prosecuted if found wanting.
The Government also remains committed to ensuring that it fulfils its obligations of protecting, respecting and fulfilling human rights as well as the preservation of the freedom of expression and association.

Times of Zambia