ICC and ICJ justice
As expected, UPND general secretary Stephen Katuka’s disclosure that the opposition party president Hakainde Hichilema was free to contest Zambia’s presidential election for as many times as he wished because the party constitution allowed him to do so, has unwittingly excited the Zambian public.
And besides all this, between the party president
and his two vice-presidents, including other senior party members, a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would aspire for the party presidency may not be able, and none may cross from the lower ranks to the top, as long as the 5-time serial election loser, remains at the helm and keeps on losing Zambia’s presidential elections (“HH Wamuyayaya”, Sunday Nation, September 25, 2016).
As God would have it, Stephen Katuka’s revelation came at the same time as the UPND supporters’ petition to the party’s top leadership to have their party president’s election petition be transferred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or the International Criminal Court (ICC) after it had locally collapsed in the Constitutional Court.
Most critics of the UPND questioned why opt to go to the courts of last resort, especially when Zambia has the best-functioning local judiciary, which has already shown adeptness at investigating serious post-election crimes, including those allegedly committed by UPND cadres in Southern, Western and North-Western provinces.
This has led observers to question the validity of the UPND’s strategy, asking why global courts should be compelled to focus energies where the judicial task was more straightforward due to substantial local capacity, while mass atrocities continue in conflict-prone regions of Africa where judicial resources are severely lacking.
However, as the ICC or ICJ announces the names of suspects alleged to have participated in the post-election violence that threatened to tear Zambia apart six weeks ago, I encourage all Zambians to take a moment to reflect on the tremendous progress our country has made since those dark days.
Together, we have been working to reconcile our communities, to reform our institutions to better serve the public good, and to put our country on a path to lasting peace and prosperity.
Zambia is turning a page in its history, moving away from impunity and divisionism towards an era of accountability and equal opportunity.
In pursuit of these goals, I urge all of Zambia’s political leaders, and the people whom they serve, to cooperate fully with the ICJ and ICC investigations and remain focused on implementation of the reform agenda and the future of our nation.
Those found responsible would be held accountable for their crimes as individuals.
Let the accused carry their own burdens – and let us keep in mind that under the ICJ or ICC process they are innocent until proven guilty.
Chongwe MP has a daunting task ahead
Mr Japhen Mwakalombe, the new Chongwe MP has a daunting task ahead of him, to live to his campaign promises.
What more with the added responsibility of taking care of Lusaka Province, the former MP for Chongwe left no road map for the incoming to follow, hence both the MP, the Council chairman as well as the councillors have to go an extra mile in less than 5 years to fulfil campaign promises.
Of immediate importance is the need for job creation which can be done through ventures such as lobbying to have a share of the L400 road network.
There is nothing to write about in terms of roads in Chongwe.
They need to be paved or raised to bitumen standard to make life easy for motorists.
Chongwe is known to be a farming community and a producer of maize, but plenty of it either is sold to Lusaka or goes to waste.
In this vein, the new MP needs to lobby for the Solar Powered milling plants to be dotted in maize producing areas such as Manyika, Kanakantapa, Nangwena, Chinkuli and Kasisi.
These will not only reduce mealie-meal prices but create the much needed jobs for our youths.
In addition, water is becoming a scarce commodity and there is need to sink bore holes or establish water kiosks in every village and township.
Misheck Nyambose, the PF Campaign chairperson did it with his meagre resources, what, more with the CDF at the disposal of the MP and his team?
Let the three “Musketeers”, MP, Council Chair and Nyambose work together to develop our Chongwe.
As the President said, time for talking is over. Can we go for work now?
Without Nyambose as the campaign Chair who laid the ground work at grassroots, the story would have been different.
Remember 5 years is a very short time. We shall evaluate you by the ballot, so keep your promises don’t be absentee MP.
We shall not forgive you. Finally, allow me to congratulate all PF councillors on making it to the local authority. Big up to you!
New ministry of religious affairs stirring things up
Reactions to the creation of the new ministry of religious affairs were as expected from the three church mother bodies.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) supported the move while the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) and the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) gave several reasons why they could not support the creation of this new government ministry.
All this puts President Edgar Lungu in an interesting position.
Although on the surface, a former devout Catholic, who has the keen ear of Pope Francis, it has been said that he would prefer the establishment of an inter-denominational house of prayer to a single new Catholic structure.
This is believed to be connected to his unmistakable antagonism he gets from the ZCCB and CCZ, who have accused the president of intending to run a rapacious theocracy in Zambia.
In response, the PF government has said the ZCCB and CCZ are a front for opposition interests in the country.
But analysts say this is a symptom of the president’s unease with the distinctly interventionist nature of Zambia’s Catholic and the mainline protestant churches.
A further sign of President Edgar Lungu’s all-absorbing Christian faith is that it is not very rare to see the president and his family taking part in prayer publicly with local preacher men and women at churches belonging to church mother bodies, namely EFZ or ZCCB or CCZ.
But of late, you cannot avoid the Pentecostal churches in Zambia.
They are ubiquitous and growing and their prayer sessions are both rapturous and solemn.
Largely originating from the United States and Nigeria, and encouraged by the liberalisation of Zambia’s laws in the 1990s allowing freedom of association and worship, congregations jam into any available space in the country.
If you listen carefully to the words spoken from the pulpit in these churches, you could be forgiven for thinking that its pastors have an undeniably political agenda.
So, how comfortably would the rise of Pentecostal churches sit with the creation of the new ministry of religious affairs by the PF government?
This is because the main goal of the Pentecostal churches is, officially at least, benediction and salvation of poor souls rather than political agitation.
They believe God appoints leaders and Christians are duty bound to pray for them.
If Zambia is suffering a dearth of good leadership, then it is God’s design.
But, why should the creation of the new ministry stir things up?
A considered case of the lesser of two evils perhaps? Predictably, not quite.