|When a nation or country is under siege, not many see it but some see it. That is why although it may be possible to mislead some people it is not possible to mislead everybody! Just, as a Zambian and not necessarily a Patriotic Front (PF) member; see the huge crowd of voters, depicting the growth of intra-party democracy at the PF Launch rally that has never happened in the history of Zambia!|
More than 120,000 people in a stadium where even the pitch was occupied. Most of the participants, where ordinary men and women, who only visit air conditioned offices, if at all. That was people power alright!
From a political stand point, if this is the mobilization muscle that the PF is able to pull and the fact of continuity punctuated by the emphatic Presidential announcement that Vice President Inonge M. Wina – a seasoned woman of substance, dubbed Iron Lady, will be the running mate, the coming to stage of Former President Rupiah Banda and earlier Former Vice President Enock Kavindele in my view sets the stage for Zambia’s development agenda. What more of Rev Dan Pule, who spoke representing more than ten opposition political parties, who have also endorsed the candidature of President Edgar C. Lungu? If you ask me, I was there and the atmosphere was just electric with an impressive stint of order.
The Presidential speech itself was an icing on the cake because of the following:
1. It spoke to where Zambia, has come from and where it is going (relevance). People, please I beg you, read, otherwise you will be misled!
2. It pointed to a myriad of success stories, which can be independently verified.
3. It brought out the way forward regarding current challenges such as ridiculously high mealie meal prices and the ZESCO managed load shedding, which will soon be attended to.
4. That the economy is slowly but surely being transformed. Secretary General Chama actually made a firm proposal to nick name President Lungu as Mr Smart Transformation
5 President Lungu was speaking from experience and not guessing or wearing spectacles with cracks of frustration. That is why he emphasized on “Sela Tubembeko” accompanied by “Sonta” to ensure and assure a SMART ZAMBIA.
Friends, one’s failure to mislead everybody can never be the basis for vomiting venom and unleashing forms of unreasonableness.
It can never be a basis for entering or entertaining unholy alliances because at the end of the day, the integrity of Zambia is fundamental and I doubt there can be a compromise on this vital subject recognized as such by international law.
One of the challenges that democracy has suffered lately, is the so called “double standards” and another challenge associated with insensitivity to group or collective rights.
Take the issue of violence, in many other jurisdictions, including mature democracies, there is no compromise on the role played by law enforcement agencies. They apply the law fairly and firmly. This is what I expect of our Zambia and having rubbed shoulders with law enforcement officers before and now; I see no exception to fairly and firmly enforcing the law as it is and NOT what Ngande wants it to be.
Second, and writing as an authority, you cannot really talk of human rights protection in the midst of say “Armageddon”.
It is not an accident that most jurisdictions in the world have laws which speak to national security. Here in Zambia, we have had a state of emergence and military coup attempts, both of which I have rendered views that are available in the public domain. It calls for responsibility and an air of maturity for all political leaders to restrain their followers from doing wrong or being on the wrong side of the law. From yesterday’s multitudes and the discipline and accompanying security seen, I am convinced that we need to do more to investigate the source of the so called political violence. I fear that what is reported as political violence is more criminality, finding its way in the political plane.
For this reason, if a political leader is truly in Love with Zambia, breaking the law directly or indirectly cannot and should not be an option. It is a duty imposed by law and Law enforcement officers should not succumb to political blackmail!
Last week I saw a post from a named opposition spokesperson that strangely and categorically; said ‘PF cadres are pulling down a named opposition campaign materials and posted as “happening now”’. Why would a senior political figure want to take the law in his hands and campaign for impunity? I ask this question because, wearing a T-shirt or cap from says Coca Cola Company or AVIC construction, can never mean that you represent any of these companies. What the named official is referring to belongs to the realm of criminality and it is a ripe matter for state police, who have the legal and legitimate mandate and resources to investigate and prosecute crime.
Please I beg, do not be misled and wrongly comforted by reference to citizen’s arrests which is often out of context because the existence of citizen’s arrest in our laws, was (a) never intended to usurp state power and (b) never intended to promote lawlessness. Lets debate, bearing in mind that the law is what it is and not what you want it to be!
Some will recklessly talk: “but it is my democratic right”! Is that so? Please take note that there is no right anywhere in the world which is either absolute or unreasonable. Yes, you can express yourself in any manner but you will be breaking the law if you elect to walk around completely naked at a beach! Yes, you will be exercising ‘your democratic right’ to beat but injuring another is an offence which all societies frown upon and Zambia is no exception.
I was actually shaken to the bones when one female lawyer from the opposition asked the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Chaiperson then, at Mulungushi Conference Center in the January 2015 election, a question which clearly is at variance with the law but nevertheless asked by a Lawyer? Just how, coming from the learned lawyer?
I have all the time made a case for civility to reign. We cannot have persons, whose major pre occupation is to violate the law. This is why other people from elsewhere laugh at us because we do things which any reasonable person cannot agree to. I have before made reference to that ill fated 1996 Press Conference at the Pamodzi hotel, where an opposition party called the Zambia Democratic Congress (ZADECO) was threatening violence because it allegedly lost elections unfairly. Really! (I reserve the right to withhold some details not disclosed at the said Press Conference).
This was in 1996. I lead a team of over 10,000 (ten thousand) professionals and volunteers to monitor the said election when international observers ‘boycotted’. Clearly as per our statement then, there were many challenges in the process but our job was ONLY to say what we saw and NEVER to campaign for this or that entity.
Let me deal with a matter which may be subjudice and details will thus be lacking. As a general rule, in the common law jurisdictions, the Court is always moved by a Litigant. Our Legal system has two sides – the aggrieved and those defending a matter.
It is for the Court then to examine the arguments that each party brings to the table employing the LAW and not any other form of reasoning.
An important point that I wish to draw here hinges on what I would consider as Public Policy. It is many times said that public policy is a “rude horse” and in this context, I would not see how a political argument can help the law.
As a people, we have mistaken LEGAL ISSUES with POLITICAL issues. You will agree with me that most proponents of political arguments are quite weak in either understanding or appreciating the mundane details of the law. The end result is that because Lawyers ALWAYS work on INSTRUCTIONS, theirs is, only if so required, to advise the CLIENT and their fact of FILLING documents, does not entail ownership of the matter.
The same above; applies to my Lawyer friends. They are able and trained in the Law and may not, with known exceptions, be familiar with the complicated political trappings presented by the strong game of “power politics”.
It should not therefore surprise anybody that any LAWYER will yield to the decision of the Court in a very gracious manner and the only thing that may be requested or done, is to appeal. Anything else, would be expecting too much.
So then what is the import of all this?
The first thing and reality really is for all of us Zambians to agree that we have a duty to deal and resolve political issues, politically.
I go back to the tired debate on the constitution making process, reflecting “tired legs”. Can you imagine we are even making excuses for our men and women (MPs) who went to sleep and failed to read so that they could represent their constituents well? Yes, MPs make laws and yes, the constitution is a very political document, which will always be in formulated two parts, namely (a) ADOPTION and (b) ENACTMENT.
It was my expectation that the members of parliament that were opposed to some clauses, will take full advantage of (a) ADOPTION and garner support from their constituents as opposed to rely on other interested groups, whose agenda is very limited. It was also my expectation that parliamentarians, would in a surgical manner debate clauses as (b) ENACTMENT was underay.
Let nobody be cheated, ENACTMENT is a sole preserve of parliamentarians and ADOPTION for me and you. You can choose to participate by making oral or written submissions. You can also participate by either picketing or boycotting. Depending on the issues at hand, picketing may get better results than boycotting. It is for this reason why I am on record now and before to oppose a method of picketing or demonstration which has a combination of political parties and civil society.
It just cannot work as it represents a typical horse rider relationship. In other words, the interests of the two are diametrically opposed. What happens when major political decisions have to be made? Why would a Civil Society organization be totally opposed to working with the government of the day, when in reality they have so much in common?
I remain extremely grateful for your comments, phone calls and sms. I promise to deal with the many submissions as objectively as humanly possible. See you next week.
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