On September 25th, 2023, President Hakainde Hichilema announced the appointment of Dr. Ron Mwambwa as the new Auditor General. However, this appointment faces a significant constitutional hurdle as Dr. Mwambwa is deemed ineligible due to his age.
In a statement issued by Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba, Article 252(1) of the Zambian Constitution explicitly stipulates that the Auditor General must retire from office upon reaching the age of 60 years. Article 252(2) further specifies that the Auditor General is entitled to retire with full benefits at the age of 55.
Remarkably, Dr. Ron Mwambwa is 63 years old, a fact confirmed in his complaint dated June 23, 2023, to the Judicial Complaints Commission against the former Auditor General, Dick Chella Sichembe.
President Hichilema, in making this appointment, may not have been properly advised regarding the constitutional provisions governing the age limit for this office.
This issue of age and eligibility has been thoroughly considered and ruled upon by the Supreme Court in the past. In a similar case in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that judges who retired at the age of 65 were ineligible for appointment to higher office. This legal precedent is relevant to Dr. Ron Mwambwa’s appointment as Auditor General.
Therefore, it is crucial for President Hichilema to consult with his Attorney General to clarify the legal status of this appointment before proceeding further with the processing of Dr. Ron Mwambwa’s nomination.