Finally, as indicated earlier on, the die is cast. All the political parties have filed in their nominations and applications as Republican President and Vice Republican Presidents, or running mates as it were, before the same body that opposition political parties have been pouring scorn and almost scandalising, arising out of nothing, but either desperation or thirsty for political power.
There is a new development in Zambia. It is the very first time that a real political feat has been scored. President H.E Edgar C. Lungu is the first to appoint a first woman Republican Vice-President, Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina. For the very first time in the history of Zambia, the President (HE Lungu) and his Vice (Mrs I. Wina) have filed in as the Patriotic Front – PF Presidential candidate and running mate! I am of the view that this reality requires a dedicated write up to ensure that posterity looks upon Zambia favourably and correctly.
Yes, there has been mudslinging on our electoral process and I am personally happy that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has stood firm in the wake of misguided and suspect attacks. In case people are not aware, the Commissioners are prominent men and women whose credentials are neither for sale nor easily assailable. The United Nations Development Program, which is a key stakeholder, (UNDP) is as credible as we know of the United Nations!
The unfortunate view on the negative vibes by some stakeholders against the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) lacks merit because literally and in effect, no new issue or issues are being raised by stakeholders other than playing to the gallery and seeking political relevance.
We all appreciate the fact that he or she who goes to equity must go with clean hands and in this respect I wish to commend President Edgar Lungu for putting Zambia first so that he can as he has been doing move the country forward, without fear or favor. He has not only submitted his application to continue running Zambia, but comes with him an impressive track record of correcting the serious imbalances which almost wrecked our economy. The choice of Mrs Wina as a running mate has profound implications. Her calibre, commitment to duty, rare courage and resolve, tenacity and intelligence is an affirmation of the leadership of President Lungu, who remains a beacon of hope. It is meritocracy at play and not the problem of expedience.
Talking about our country in depth, we can no longer burry our heads in the sand. The truth is that the privatisation program, as executed, was such an expensive experiment that has created massive societal dislocations and pain, including deaths. We have all seen what we produced as a result of greed, such that we have serious reason to look back, so that we do not find ourselves in a similar position of “zero option”. As I said much earlier, in Tonga we say, “Vuna Silumamba, sinzala utunda bubi” (You rather help a warrior than a hungry man because a hungry man will, as soon as he is full forget that you ever helped him – but the man whose life you have saved, will not)
The political arena has become a hiding place for criminals. All you need to do is to work quietly, haul so much money, launder it and then use the law to protect your laundered money. If you are in trouble with the law and arrested, cadres will run amok and sections of the media will scream blue murder in the hope of turning an illegality into “political persecution”. Even those who ordinarily will not visit you; will do so since they project themselves as sympathisers when, in fact, raising their political interests to a level that defies common sense. Jostling for influence, at whatever cost!
In my view, the scenario sketched above is an indictment on the tardiness and preparedness of our society to protect itself. For instance, it has taken us decades to finally agree that we needed to have a new constitution, which makes fundamental and key changes such as having a Presidential running mate and the 50+1 threshold for a Presidential winner. In short, we are going to have a President who is elected by the majority. Under the PF we have been presented with a forward looking scenario; where a running mate should have the capacity and integrity to take over from the incumbent President, if circumstances present such a requirement.
Clearly, without stating it, our law now requires that we do nothing but put in office serious, sober and committed citizens, who have no reason to graduate into charlatans of satanic verses. You saw how some ‘candidates’ failed to file, yet they spent time criticising the process at the expense of our democracy.
That said, democracy can be a double-edged sword. It is not perfect, but as at now, the only tried and tested method of managing a civilised country! The challenge will always be at a micro-level. Meaning, it is what we want as a people that will make a good or bad Zambia. If for instance, our laws permit drug traffickers to occupy public office, we risk contaminating society in a very serious manner, with long term consequences. As far as drug related issues are concerned, it is not only Zambia which would be at risk, but the international community whose economy may be damaged by money laundering. Clearly and that is the position, the law will not always make provisions for all circumstances but society is organised in such a way as to insulate itself from such lapses of democracy.
In fact, the rights discourse here comes in the dock, when you make reference to certain liberties. Let’s take the right to association or the right to free expression in the context of the rule of law. Law as we know is what the courts pronounce as such. Again, I find good reason to caution: Please, self-prescription is dangerous. I know we can all read, but do not read and begin interpreting something that may have a golden meaning as opposed to the literal meaning. Statutory interpretation is highly technical.
It is important to underline the fact that courts work on the basis of evidence, not hearsay, not feelings, not solidarity, not conjecture and neither sympathies nor “cohort influence”. That is not to say that those who are discharged by our courts are blameless. Several things are taken into account! Similarly, it is not everyone who is accused that merits prosecution with its consequences. It is for this reason why it is ALWAYS the duty of the of the government of the day to ensure that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, (DPP) can stand up and promote public policy and only allow prosecution in cases which merit it and devoid of political trappings or machinations that pay homage to “other considerations”. Some apologists will say, but that is how life is. Good people are sometimes punished for nothing! Well, that is a lot of Stone Age thinking. WE MUST LEARN FROM the FAILURES of the PAST and not struggle to justify wrongdoing!
In fact, the rights to both association and expression are sometimes taken out of context. It does not mean that because you have the right to association then you can agree to go and convene on private grounds, with impunity! It is not in order for any person to call the President or Commander-in-Chief all kinds of names; whether it is President Edgar C. Lungu or another. First, it is morally wrong and repugnant to natural justice. Second, it is not in our culture. Third, it is illegal and lastly, it runs counter to civility and democracy. (You cannot wish to run a democracy if you are not a democrat)
Please take note that it is not possible to formulate a law which regulates when and how you speak, what you say and how you say it. It is entirely up to the person speaking to either address issues or address non-issues and that belongs to what one may call tradition or culture. If it is your personal practice, tradition and culture to unleash insults, you will do so without thought, without taking into account the injury that such words cause on others and more seriously you use unpalatable or insulting language as a clear demonstration of a failed reasoning process. (You are unreasonable)
But, if you are a cultured individual, both rights above, will be in “safe hands” because you know your limits and you will not be playing to the gallery. You present no danger! Of course, and rightfully so, one may argue that “but you can sue” if defamed. Well, that is an unacceptable way of bringing in unfairness in the realm of civility. Common sense does not allow for certain words to be freely dished out without consequence. The authors of such words are in the long run glossily punished by society. Society punishes using moral checks and balances; couched in tradition.
If for instance, society has no capacity of seeking redress from an individual but knows that such a person is a known drug trafficker, electorates as a matter of community sanction, will resist electing such a person, deemed to have “offended’ society. But, and but, in the style of one late Pablo Escobar of Colombia, he was able to ascend to prominence (Member of Parliament) by being generous with his wealth. An attribute of a shadowy “businessman” many times, is the level of contrived generosity. In fact, you will see that even the business vultures and genuine business have charities, which seek to paint them as caring! Most, if not all, these charities are a response to pressure from just and legitimate causes promoted by the international civil society organisations.
When all is said and done, 11th August is slowly but surely coming. Knowing it is coming, we all have a duty to at all times maintain the peace and stay thousands of kilometers away from criminality. What is being called political violence is NOT political violence per se, but criminality. It is a serious misnomer to call criminality another name than what it is because, NOBODY is ABOVE THE LAW. So, I truly pity those who dare the law.
So, in reality the assurances from the POLICE that they are ready to maintain PEACE before, during and after August 11th by cracking the whip, without fear or favor must show. I do not accept that citizens must take the law into their hands because of political expediency! Zambia is not only inhabited by politicians!
I feel duty bound to once again thank all of you for the good words of hope. We need each other. I am so indebted such that I do not know how to pay you back. When I delay in responding to your SMS or Email, it is not out of choice but circumstances beyond my control.
Mobile: 0977776191 and 0955776191.