It was extremely disturbing to hear the Minister of Justice and Party Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front Wynter Kabimba justify the assault and subsequent abduction of Samson Zulu one of PF’s founder members.
At no time in the ZNBC interview did Wynter condemn the shocking display of violence that the nation witnessed on national television.
Wynter justified the incident by suggesting a flaw in the character of Zulu, the victim of the attack, ignited by a critical press conference that he was holding.
The truth is that what transpired was criminal and therefore indefensible. Violence and abduction are criminal offences and that is why the people responsible were apprehended and prosecuted by courts of law.
They are lucky to be walking the streets and even to be appointed in senior Government position because of the Presidential pardon they were given- even before appeals could be heard.
The statement by Wynter justifying the assault and abductions goes a long way in further fortifying the long shadow of doubt and skepticism that Zambians harbour over the PF commitment to the rule of law.
A few days ago the Party’s Chairperson Sylvia Masebo abrogated the electoral code of conduct when she led a mob into “out of bounds” territory.
Not to be outdone the Vice President Dr. Guy Scott also abrogated the act while in Lukulu where he went to witness the nomination process.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) spokesperson Cris Akufuna apologetically states that the Commission is following up accusations that Vice President Guy Scott addressed a political campaign rally in Lukulu West contrary to the law.
He suggests that it would be an abrogation of the Electoral Conduct of Conduct for the VP or any person for that matter to conduct a political rally before the filing of nominations.
Taken together these acts are a major source of concern because it would appear that the rule of law only applies to the opposition rather that the ruling party.
These abrogations of the law must be dealt with decisively to ensure that Zambian citizens retain a measure of confidence in the existence of the rule of law in the country.
It is disturbing that PF Ministers who abrogate the law are allowed to go scot free while opposition leaders are invariably visited by the law even for the most mundane of incidents, resulting in a situation where the Presidents of the UPND and MMD are presently before courts of law answering various charges.
Meanwhile the Chief Justice still has to decide on a Tribunal over the conduct of Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo. Western Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta has not had his day in court because the Police still have to charge him for the assault and injury suffered by Gary Nkombo the UPND MP for Mazabuka.
It will also be remembered that Police were quick to arrest and incarcerate more than 56 UPND members in Livingstone because they were suspected to have been involved in the murder of a PF cadre.
Surprisingly other cadres who harassed and even used firearms against UPND cadres were not arrested.
Unless justice is seen, to be done the people of Zambia will lose confidence in the rule of law- a danger to national security, peace and harmony.