Challenging illegality

The  decision by the Law Association of Zambia to challenge the Public Order Act in courts of law is a very sad development.

It testifies to the breakdown in our systems of governance.

There is no reason why the entire LAZ should resort to courts of law to enforce rights that are enshrined in the constitution. These should be inalienable rights that should be attached to any form of controversy.

The situation, sadly, is not as clear and transparent as it should be. The Police, with the support of the political leadership, have taken it upon themselves to chaperon the political community by determining whether and where political parties will hold meetings.

This is not correct.

The highest court in the Land has already ruled on this matter. It envisaged circumstances in which overzealous police officer, sponsored by their political appointing authorities would make it impossible for the opposition to hold meetings.

It was for this reason that the Supreme court outlawed the requirement of police permits to hold meeting or demonstrations.

Anywhere else the ruling of the Supreme Court would have been respected, but not in Zambia. The Police appear to be a law unto themselves and will apply conditionalities as they see fit without referring to existing law.

For these infringements they will not be censured by will instead win accolades thereby encouraging them for further abuse of the law.

These conditions set a very bad precedence. Lawlessness of any type and disregard of the rule of law will easily become endemic and metamorphosise into a culture of absolute impunity from which the country may never recover.

The culture of impunity is also showing in other areas of governance especially those related to the law.  Progressively, transactions that are less than arms length are dominating the government through direct and indirect involvement of those occupying the offices. 

It is a disgrace, criminal and totally immoral and unethical for an officer of government to with an interest to decide on a matter with or without declaring interest, and any such actions should be subject to censure, investigation and ultimate sanctioning.  The whole point of the anti-Corruption crusade is to ensure that individuals do not derive personal benefit arising from their proximity of indeed tenure of office which has authority, purview and oversight.

We agree with Mr. Changala that many of the decisions that have been taken will be subject of further review upon change of regime and as Mr. Mulongoti said previously many of the decision makers today must gird their loins in the face of certain imprisonment.

There is no question that issue has been taken of the manner in which governance issues have been sidelined against political expediency.  The rot of indiscipline, abuse of authority and sheer negligence now pervade public service to the extent that no service is readily available without beneficiation or indeed gratification.

Public service should be about performing duty for the greater good of society.  We hope the challenge by LAZ, admonition by Brebner Changala and a greater outcry from civil and political society will influence systems of governance to pay heed to the issues being raised, otherwise the future of this great country will be bleak.

 

 

Catherine’s next fight to gobble K405 million

Oriental Quarries Boxing promotion stables is looking for K405 million to stage Catherine Phiri‘s fight when she faces Filipino  Norji Guro of Philippines for the World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF) Bantum Weight  title slated for February 2 2013.

Promoter Chris Malunga said he has received many offers from different companies wishing to sponsor the fight.

“These companies would like to partner with us to raise the needed K405 million to successfully stage the fight.

Malunga said that the stable has already raise K180 million and was now looking for the balance which was K225 million.

He was speaking yesterday when two companies Diamonds Pots and Vitalys Manufacturing and Trading Limited contributed K75 million as salaries  for Catherine, her trainer Mike Zulu and Manager Malunga for one year with effect from this month.

Malunga said that it was encouraging to see companies coming on board to promote boxing inZambia.

He said that the gesture will encourage both the boxer and the trainer to work hard and produce good results.

In a separate interview Catherine said that she was glad with the support she was getting from cooperating partners.

Catherine said it’s was now becoming more evident that she will do better in the ring when she meets Guro.

She said that with motivation she was ready to give Zambians another moment they will live to remember.

Catherine said that she will never underrate any opponent again because doing so may lead to her down fall.

She said that it was possible to beat the Filipino boxer with hard work and long camping arrangements.

LAZ petitions provisions of Public Order Act

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) yesterday filed a petition in the Lusaka High Court challenging certain provisions of  the Public Order Act.

The action has been taken due to the continued unreasonableness exhibited by the government through the Police to prevent citizens from holding public gatherings. They had decided to challenge the Constitutionality of the Public Order Act or some provisions therein in the High Court.

LAZ president James Banda said in a statement that the LAZ Litigation team has filed the petition to challenge some parts of the Public Order Act.

Mr Banda said the association would now wait for the High Court to set a date of hearing and determination of the matter.

He stated that the action had been taken in the public interest and was also in line with its objectives of promoting the rule of law and human rights.

“LAZ’s objective is to promote liberties of individuals and the reform of the law both by the amendment and removal of imperfections in the existing law.”

On several occasions the Police have stopped United Party for National Development  (UPND) from holding rallies inLusakaand Copperbelt.

The Police have also stopped the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) from holding meetings inLusakaand Livingstone.

PF failures worry NAREP

NAREP on the Copperbelt is saddened with ZAMTEL employees throughout Zambia that have been receiving letters of termination of contract, without government intervention.

In an interview with the Daily Nation, Copperbelt coordinator Jevan Kamanga said the PF government’s failure to listen to cries of the people was a sure recipe for its downfall because it would lose popularity.

NAREP said PF’s failure to look after the peoples’ interests will make it lose popularity among the citizens and the consequences will be dire.

Mr Kamanga said NAREP was concerned about the growing trend of unemployment in the country, adding that it was sad some of the ZAMTEL employees on the Copperbelt his week started receiving their terminal letters.

He said such a situation should not be easily accepted because it was drawing back the country into an insecure state of living.

“As NAREP we want to plead the case of ZAMTEL employees who are scared and feel insecure in their jobs. We are seriously concerned about the ever growing level of unemployment in our nation with more people being sent to the streets,” he said.

He said the PF government gave major promises to the people ofZambiaand one of which was to reverse the sale of ZAMTEL and they promised permanent jobs to Zambians.

“We want to appeal to President Michael Sata to look into the plight of ZAMTEL employees to reverse the Termination of Contracts exercise,

“ PF is becoming unpopular day by day by through decisions like this, and we don’t take pride in the failure of others but we can’t sit back while such vices are going on” he said

MMD U-turns on expelling MPs

MMD yesterday held a caucus meeting with its members serving in the PF government and decided not to expel loyal Members of Parliament because it will be costly to the party and the nation.

According to the meeting which was called by party president Dr. Nevers Mumba, attended by Vice president for political affairs Dr. Michael Kaingu and four  of nine MMD MPs serving in the PF government, it was decided that loyal members should be guided on how to conduct themselves with respect to the appointments.

The meeting which lasted about four hours also resolved to deal with Josephine Limata, Luampa MMD MP, Richard Taima, Solwezi East, and Elijah Muchima from Ikelenge who had snubbed the crucial meeting aimed at addressing the challenges the party was facing with MPs who had crossed to President Sata’s government.

Nicholas Banda who is Deputy Agriculture Minister was not in attendance too although he was considered loyal to the party.

Among the MPs who attended the meeting was Local Government Deputy Minister Follie Tembo, Keith Mukata and David Phiri Tourism and Art and Dr. Patrick Chikusu Deputy Health Minister

UPND defectors warned

Opposition UPND has warned that it will expel all its members of parliament aligning themselves with the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party, according to party Secretary General Winstone Chibwe.

Mr. Chibwe said that his party was carrying out investigations and  warned that it would not hesitate to expel any members found to be courting the PF.

He said that the UPND has since charged Sinazongwe member of parliament Richwell Siamunene with gross misconduct contrary to the party constitution article 7 (b) of the party disciplinary code of conduct.

Mr. Chibwe said that Mr. Siamunene will appear before the disciplinary committee to exculpate himself before the committee makes a ruling on the allegations leveled against him.

“Reference is made to my minute dated July 5, 2012 in which I leveled charges against you with an instruction for you to respond within seven days from that date. I have since received your response dated June 12, 2012 of which I am not satisfied,” said Mr. Chibwe.

Mr Chibwe also said that  Siamunene’s wife of attacking the party leadership when she knew that her husband was voted on the UPND ticket.

“Your wife further indicated that the president hates you and that he wants to grab the little piece of land you own in Zimba. It was also indicated that you are so popular in the constituency to the extent that even when you stood for elections as an independent candidate, you performed extremely well,” he said.

“Numerous adverse reports have reached my office about your conduct in the constituency. This prompted me to send a team to visit the area. The district had raised some of these issues with you in the minute of March 24, 2012 which you have continued to ignore,” Chibwe stated.

He said any member found wanting on disciplinary charges would be asked to leave the party and join the party of their choice rather than creating acrimony in the opposition party as it prepares to form government in 2016.

Sinazongwe residents have also complained that their law maker of pushing  PF programmes which were not in line with the UPND manifesto.

Mr. Siamunene has also been accused of recruiting members on behalf of the PF in the district as he was preparing to defect and re-contest on the ruling PF in an event that he was expelled from the party.

The MP could not be reached for a comment.

ADD attacks new districts

President Michael Sata will cost the country hugely for the unilateral decisions he is making to create or realign districts without consulting other interested stakeholders, says Alliance for Development and Democracy (ADD) president Charles Milupi.

Mr. Milupi said President Sata appeared to be making decisions on impulse without the input of his government colleagues in respect to the realignment of districts.

“It is only God who makes decisions without consulting anybody on the basis of orders like, let there be light. A President can’t do that because he is not God. I have looked in the Yellow Book and there is no budget line for the districts created.

“So where is the money going to come from for operations? This means the President needs to appoint District Commissioners and provide all the necessary requirements so that the offices can be functional,” he said.

He said President Sata’s decision to create five districts inWesternProvincelacked any credible basis, adding that he even surprised his ministers.

Mr. Milupi urged President Sata to properly plan for these new districts to ensure that when a decision was made, it should have been budgeted for and agreed upon by every interested party.

And UPND Moomba Constituency MP Vitalis Mooya questioned President Sata’s move to create more districts when the 2013 national budget did not have the provisions for that.

He said that the PF’s high pronouncements were detrimental to the growth of the nation as they were too ambitious.

President Sata recently announced the creation of five districts inWesternProvinceand construction of a modern stadium. He also created another district inNorthWesternProvince.

First Lady funding a big shame -Mususu

It is shameful for State House to justify budgetary allocation to the First Lady when Zambians did not vote her into office, says Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) National Overseer Bishop Paul Mususu.

Rev Mususu said Zambians did not vote for President Michael Sata’s wife Christine for Parliament to allocate funds to her unconstitutional office.

And Bishop Mususu has questioned why the Catholic Church has kept quiet over the ineptness of the Patriotic Front (PF) government and Mr Sata’s failure to show leadership in the fight against corruption.

In an interview, Bishop Mususu said “It is shocking that President Sata has justified the budgetary allocation to his wife’s office when he knows that it is unconstitutional. The people ofZambiadid not vote for Dr. Kaseba, we voted for Mr. Sata no wonder we don’t have problems with the allocation for State House. Who knows that in the next budget it will be for his children,” he said.

He said that it was morally wrong for President Sata and the PF to behave in the manner they have.

“The only thing that brings Mr. Sata’s wife into the lime light is her being married to the President. We did not vote for her. So why should she be allocated funds? If President Sata feels that she is qualified to do particular jobs why not appoint her Minister so that whatever she is doing is constitutional?

“She is just calling for her own problems which she will be required to respond to and if you cannot call this corruption at the highest level then I don’t know,” he said.

Bishop Mususu who is also former EFZ executive director said that with the limited resources Zambia has, it was unaffordable to allow for a duplication of activities which required funding such as what President Sata’s wife was doing.

“She is talking about cancer issues, this is a health matter, she is talking about Gender issues this is also another health matter which if anything should be dealt under the Ministry of Health or community development. I am sure that in the 2013 budget government had allocated funds towards those programmes and so why should we duplicate activities?

“It is a sheer waste of resources and one way of corruption by allocating K1.5 billion to the programme which is constitutionally being handled by an appropriate ministry,” he said.

And Bishop Mususu has questioned the silence by the Catholic Church over President Sata’s dictatorial conduct on many issues of governance.

“What is happening is of serious and great concern. Why is the church silent on matters of national interest? It is true that personally I have taken a low key on these issues but the fact is that we need to fight for this country. This is our country and not PF’s.”

Milingo Speaks out on PF

The integrity of the judiciary is under threat inZambiabecause levels of integrity and uprightness have gone down, former Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has said.

“Is justice inZambiathe same as justice internationally?  InZambiait is worse because 1 per cent of elite Zambians are facing court cases. For how long are these people going to be in court? Why is it that whoever speaks out on the wrongs of PF administration would be on wanted least until a case was built up for him.

“When President Sata came into office he promised that he would deal with the anomalies in the justice system but ‘certain people’ feel they could do better and instead want to control the system in their own way,” Archbishop Milingo said.

And Archbishop Milingo has questioned government lack of consistency in sorting out issues that were affecting common Zambians saying it had become difficult for people to access justice because of high corruption levels in the judicial system.

The 82-year old leader of The Zambia Thy Will Be Done Church of Jesus Christ revealed that at least 1 per cent of working adults were in court for various cases that had dragged on for years.

He said justice dispensation had become more difficult because people were taking advantage of the fact that President Sata announced that he would clean the judiciary.

The pronouncement he said had prompted ‘certain people’ to take advantage and manipulate the system to their liking.

Archbishop Milingo wondered whether the justice inZambiawas the same as international justice.

He said many Zambians were not happy with what was prevailing in the country because they wished well for motherZambia.

“Zambians can celebrate the victory of the Africa Cup whole heartedly but they can’t cerebrate the victory of change of government whole heartedly because they are not sure if they will have the independence they wanted.

“Can Zambians compile a litany of what they have so far benefitted from the Patriotic Front government for the past one year?

“What is it that has been done that Zambians can boast of, that there were free in their own country because as far as am concerned I am the only free Zambian?

“Most of the people have issues that they need government to attend to and want to be done correctly. Zambians will only be free if there was an independent judiciary but as things are, we still have a big problem in our judicial system because certain elements feel they can control it,” he said.

Archbishop Milingo further said that there has been lack of consistence by the government was handling issues.

He said it was not yet clear if the current government would deliver to the people ofZambiain the next four years remaining looking at the way things were being handled.

He however, warned that the PF government should not take Zambians for granted because the same Zambians would one day rise against the leadership style, being exhibited.

The Archbishop also said it was wrong for government to complain that it was spending too much money on the former Head of State Rupiah Banda when it was its responsibility to do so.

“Since the coming of the PF what have the many Zambians benefitted apart from being told ills about the former republican President Rupiah Banda?

“Leave RB alone and if anyone had anything against the old man, let them take appropriate measures to ensure that they provide proof of the offences committed

“We are not being fed with anything but just hatred that people have against the former Head of State.Zambiawas a respected country because we harboured a lot of people whose countries were at war but we should not take this peace and respect for granted.

“These people should stop to embarrass the country because they have no clear issues to talk about. Why talk about one person day in day out? Zambians are noble people and we are not noble fools,” said Archbishop Milingo.

HH complains of Govt harassment

President Michael Sata has instructed police officers and other security wings of government to curtail UPND president Hakainde Hichilema‘s freedom of movement, speech and association, it has been learnt.

In an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr. Hichilema said that the continued curtailing of his freedoms was a sign of fear for the UPND leadership that it would tell the nation the truth about the failure of the PF government.

Mr. Hichilema said that there were many things inZambiawhich had gone wrong which the opposition needed to inform the people.

He cited the mealie meal shortage on the Copperbelt, Kasama and other parts of the country as some of the major issues the people ofZambianeeded to know the truth about.

“I wanted to go and see the extent of the situation on the ground on the Copperbelt a few days ago over the mealie meal shortage in Chingola, Chililabombwe, and Mufulira, but Mr. Sata and the PF heard my mission and sent hooligans to waylay me at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport,’ he said.

Mr. Hichilema said that the PF were determined to cause fracas at the airport which would have in turn blamed on him.

He said Zambians were not free to conduct their daily business because of the intimidating and violence tactics exhibited by the PF hooligans.

“Do you still have a country? You don’t have, do you still have a leadership? No. And they arrange that immediately I get into the market I must be attacked and the police was aware about this.

’The only thing they could do was to send information saying that we will not allow HH to go into the market without arresting those planning to hurt me. This is the police that is compromised, working in tandem PF hooligans,” he said.

“I want to assure the people ofZambiathat the PF will not cow down Hakainde because I have not committed any crime, I will represent the people who are being cheated by this Donch Kubeba government,” he said.

Mr. Hichilema said that even those who voted for President Sata and the PF were shocked about the degenerating of democratic standards under the PF government.

“Even the people who voted for this government on the Copperbelt now know that they made a mistake because it has failed to provide jobs, and worse still no plan on how it will address the issue of mealie meal shortages,

“I told the people the people ofZambiathat you vote for President Sata and the PF you will be jumping from the frying pan to fire. Recently people were saying that I was bitter but are you hearing them saying that anymore? No, because they know that I said the truth.”