The Times of Zambia Ndola Rebecca Mushota
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said that African countries should work hard to uphold constitutionalism in order to guarantee peace.

The President has also said he will not shield any of his ministers from criminal investigations so that the rule of law in the country can be strengthened.

Mr Lungu said that abiding by the Constitution was one way of guaranteeing peace in any nation.

The Head of State said this when participants of the African Union Peace and Security Retreat in Lusaka paid a courtesy call on him at State House.

He said constitutions should be stable and not changed soon before elections.

« A Constitution is basic to each country. Don’t change constitutions at the eleventh hour because people will feel cheated.

« I am not attacking any leader, but I am saying that changes to the Constitution are necessary, but timing is also important, » Mr Lungu said.

He said that an untimely change of the Constitution was a risk for chaos.

The President said he was aware that sometimes his talk on upholding the Constitution made him unpopular with some leaders.

Mr Lungu said the AU should count on Zambia to foster peace in Africa, as the country prided itself as a beacon of peace in the region.

Generally, he said, African leaders wanted peace, but the unfair treatment by the people at times led them to make changes to the Constitution to protect their lives after leaving office.

Mr Lungu said Africans should be fair to each other and treat their former leaders well and not crucify them.

He said that sometimes, a leader could do the right things, but he would still be subjected to persecution once he left office.

Mr Lungu said it was, therefore, imperative for presidents to allow investigative wings to investigate criminal allegations against their ministers to ensure that the rule of law was allowed to prevail and cases did not pile up against a government.

He said shielding government officials gave ammunition to people to prosecute members of that government once they left office.

« That is why for me, when ministers are wrong, I will not protect them, but allow investigations because sometimes when as a leader you allow cases not to be investigated, these matters pile up against you and you will be persecuted together, » Mr Lungu said.

He also urged the AU delegates to ensure that individual countries implemented what was discussed at the AU in order to save the organisation from being viewed as a « talking club ».

Burundian envoy to the AU Dieudonne Ndabarushimana said Zambia was an inspiration to Africa and well-placed to foster peace on the continent.