The Zambian government on Monday dismissed reports that it already has had a decision on its membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as accusations that its public hearings on the matter was a waste of resources.

International Criminal Court (ICC)
International Criminal Court (ICC)
Last month, the government started holding public hearings to get views from citizens on the country’s membership to the international court following a resolution adopted by African leaders at the African Union (AU) Summit where they called for a collective withdrawal from the ICC after accusing the court of only targeting African leaders, although the decision is non-binding . But some stakeholders have accused the government of wasting public resources on a matter whose outcome was pre-determined as it already has a position and have since demanded that the public hearings be stopped. The situation was exacerbated by revelation by a top official from the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) who said President Edgar Lungu wants Zambia to remain in ICC.

Mumbi Phiri, the deputy secretary general of the ruling party told local media that Lungu told a recent meeting of the party’s central committee that he wanted Zambia to remain in the international court. But Minister of Justice Given Lubinda said the government has not yet taken a position on the matter. He said in a live interview on state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation that the government has decided to consult stakeholders in order to maintain the tenets of democracy and get views from the public. Zambia, he said, wanted to take a report to the AU in June this year which represents views from stakeholders and that it will not halt the public hearing meetings as demanded by some stakeholders. “Government is very surprised that the same people who championed the cause of participation, the cause of consultation are today turning around saying don’t consult us,” he said. The government decided to take the root of consulting stakeholders because it did not want to be misunderstood on the matter.The government is currently holding public hearings in 30 of the country’s districts while a national symposium will be held on April 11-12 before coming up with a final document to be taken to the AU summit in June.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh