IT IS one thing to disagree and even criticize a judgment by courts of law but totally another to impugn corruption and ulterior motives on the part of the judges.
There must be a very clear distinction between the judges as individuals and the judgments they pass.
That is why we totally disagree with UPND President Hakainde Hichilema who has accused the ConCourt judges of being corrupt for lapsing the Presidential petition.
The petition failed because it was time-barred, not because the judges willed it. Presidential petitions have time limits for the obvious and logical reason that there should be limited time without a Cabinet in place.
Therefore, to blame the judges is not fair, logical nor indeed moral. Fourteen days is 14 days and failure to observe this precept is an internal aberration that should not be extended to individuals exercising their professional duty.
We also take issue and great exception to HH’s rendition of Article 101 of the Constitution. There is nowhere in that article that invites the Speaker to take power from the incumbent.
One prominent lawyer and opposition leader, Elias Chipimo, has clearly and publicly stated that Mr. Hichilema’s interpretation of the law is wrong and faulty. There is no need for the Speaker to take over power in the event of 50 percent plus 1 win within the first ballot.
The Speaker is only invoked in a rerun, and there was no such rerun in the manner President Lungu was elected.
Therefore, the suggestion by HH that judges deliberately failed to deliver judgment in this regard is misplaced and a clear misinterpretation of the law.
We are concerned as a newspaper that statements seemingly promoting insurrection are being made to champion the nebulous cause of taking back the vote.
The statement by HH that his members should rise and fight for their freedom could very easily be understood to advocating civil insurrection. Hopefully, this is not the case.
Civil strife is an evil that is better eschewed because there is no country that has ever suffered internal revolt that has recovered fully.
The continent is replete with failed states that sought shelter and conflict resolution in armed rebellion and confrontation.
Democracy by its very nature demands respect for diversity. It actually thrives on diversity. Therefore, any attempt to impose uniformity, indeed a party ideology outside the democratic norms, is a dangerous preoccupation with a deleterious prognosis.
And sadly most of the victims of violent uprisings are the poor, dispossessed women and children.
It is common cause that those who promote insurrections often flee because they have the means and ability to seek shelter outside conflict areas.
It is our hope that HH is not suggesting that his followers should now take to the streets and confront those who may not be sympathetic to the cause of UPND.
If this is the case, then we appeal to him and his top echelons to rethink this strategy because the end result may be a tragedy of the proportions he may not envisage.
The reality on the ground for the UPND is that it is a minority party in most of the urban centres. Therefore, any attempt to cause insurrection will attract a counter response from those who may not be particularly sympathetic.