The temerity of Mutembo Nchito and his team most certainly dealt a death knell to any prospects of his preliminary challenges being upheld.
There otiose arguments lacked any legal merit but were intended to disparage and hopefully in the process derail a very well intentioned exercise.
The vacuous tirades couched in disparaging language which the tribunal chairman, Annel Silungwe, has rightly described as ‘‘uncouth’’, was a definite ruse designed to obfuscate real issues for sentimental and totally unrelated matters.
Sadly the gullible and feeble-minded fell for the ruse until the tribunal yesterday delivered a cogent, substantive and well tabulated ruling that dealt definitively with each and every issue raised by Mutembo Nchito.
We fully sympathise with the tribunal because none of them were spared from the personalized and vicious attacks from the vacuous media which was determined to derail as it has done before the work of the tribunal.
The tragedy is that since 2001, the country has been subjected to a litany of ‘‘uncouth media’’, whose sole purpose was to demonise and eradicate from collective consciousness the tireless work and effort of many outstanding Zambians who have left a mark of distinction on this country.
As Judge Silungwe noted the unfair, inaccurate and ‘‘uncouth’’ attacks are not new and certainly not limited to the tribunal. These were the holy grail of the so-called anti-corruption crusade over which Mutembo Nchito and his colleagues presided and would have wished to continue to preside.
Sadly for them time has come when sanity must prevail and the rule of law must be observed.
They are no special holy cows in this dispensation and President Edgar Lungu must be encouraged to be more decisive and eliminate all the pockets of corruption that have served to prop and support bad governance, managed externally by power stalk borers and pretenders who have never presented themselves for political office and election.
It would have been a huge tragedy had the tribunal acquiesced to be held in the open because potential witnesses and indeed witnesses would have been subjected to daily taunting by a newspaper that has dedicated itself to the destruction of this nation as we know it.
This tribunal must be the starting point of establishing sanity in our criminal justice system.
It must herald an era in which the separation of powers will provide checks and balances among appropriate governance institutions that are either elected or as in the case of the judiciary officers are appointed on merit because they have distinguished themselves in the various fields.
We appreciate that the process of reform and change will not be without pain, and indeed not without casualties but this is a risk that every progressive leader must take because the collective interest of the Zambian people is at stake.
Good governance is not simply intended to appease donors but is ultimately for the benefit of the Zambian people who will be served by a government that espouses liberal democratic values.
This tribunal will stand out in the history of the country by establishing the highest possible standards that public officers must be expected to measure up to.