LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- The
Zambian government’s decision to consult citizens on whether the country should
leave or remain in the International Criminal Court (ICC) has sparked debate in
the southern African nation.
President Edgar Lungu, upon his return from the 29th African Union
(AU) Summit in Ethiopia, said the government will consult citizens on whether
the country should remain or leave the international court.
a resolution adopted by African leaders at the summit where they called for a
collective withdrawal from the ICC, although the decision is non-binding after
accusing the court of only targeting African leaders.
Minister of Justice Given Lubinda announced that the government was to hold
public hearings on the matter in 30 districts in all 10 provinces. The sittings,
which started on March 27, will end on May 31 while a national symposium will be
held on April 11 and 12 to come up with a final document to be presented to the
AU Summit in June.
stakeholders, including opposition figures, have reacted differently to the
decision to hold the hearings and accused the government of having a stance on
the matter, calling on the government to halt the meetings.
that it was not necessary for the government to hold the public hearings as it
is a sheer waste of resources which could have been channeled to other
prudent for citizens to shun the consultations which have already gobbled up
huge chunks of public money. Citizens are urged to stay away from those
consultations as something stinking and dangerous is in the air,” said Nason
Msoni, an opposition leader from the All People’s Congress (APC) party.
opposition leader said it does not make sense to waste money on an exercise
whose outcome has already been decided.
have been supported by the Non-Governmental Organizations Coordinating Council (NGOCC),
an umbrella body of women organizations in the country.
over-stretched treasury, it is irresponsible for the government to spend on a
non-issue. On behalf of the women movement, we believe there are more pressing
issues such as completing the education and health infrastructure that the
government should focus on other than chasing the wind on issues to do with the
ICC,” the organization said.
Hichilema, the country’s leading opposition leader, has since threatened to take
legal action if Zambia follows through with government’s alleged plans to
withdraw from the ICC.
reporters during a press briefing at his residence on Monday that his party will
not allow the Zambian leader to withdraw the country from the ICC, adding that
he has already made consultations with the international community on the
government has expressed shock that some stakeholders in the country want to
curtail the process of citizens participating in the process on the country’s
future position on the ICC.
minister said the government decided to consult citizens in keeping with the
tenets of democracy and dismissed reports that it has already taken a position
on the matter.
government has since stated that it will not halt the proceedings, adding that,
like other African countries, the country was required to submit a report to the
AU during the June summit.
government has since expressed happiness over the interest shown by citizens in
the public hearings held so far, saying the exercise has received overwhelming
government has since been backed by the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP)
over its decision to consult citizens on the matter.
organization said citizens needed to be consulted on matters of public concern
as democracy demands the involvement of people in governance and national
Voice, a local civic organization has also supported the government’s decision
to consult citizens on the ICC membership, according to its executive director
The ICC was
formally established in 2002 after the adoption of the Rome Statute of the Court
in 1998. As of December 3, 2016, a total of 124 countries had ratified or
acceded to the Rome Statute.
the Rome Statute on February 17, 1998 and ratified it on November 13, 2002.
Three feared dead as boat capsizes in
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
Three people are feared dead while three others survived when a boat they were
traveling in capsized on a lake in northern Zambia, the state-run news agency
reported on Tuesday.
capsized on Lake Tanganyika in Mpulungu district last Friday, according to the
Zambia News and Information Service, which quoted provincial minister Brian
the minister, the boat capsized due to strong winds on the lake.
A team of
divers from the marine unit of the Zambia army are currently searching for the
missing people, he added.