Law enforcement agencies compromised-Msoni

The law enforcement agencies have been highly  compromised to the extent that they no longer command public confidence even from the people that are using them, says Nason Msoni.

Mr Msoni, a former MMD presidential aspirant charged that institutions such as the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the Zambia Police (ZP) could not act independently if their investigations were instigated by politicians in government.

He said that because of government’s interference in the operations of these institutions, investigations carried out by such institutions would always leave doubts in people’s mind who would in turn perceive to be untrue.

Mr Msoni said it was time these institutions redeemed themselves from the hands of the politicians and operate within the frame work of the law.

“ACC, DEC and Police are no longer fit for purpose. If the recent conduct in these institutions is anything to go by it is apparent that their role as law enforcement agencies has greatly or highly been compromised to the extent that they no longer command public confidence from our people.

“The problem is that they are working under instructions from the politicians who in most cases target fellow politicians. They have watered down their own credibility by allowing themselves to be used by politicians,” Msoni said.

He noted that it was unprecedented in the history of this country for police or indeed any law enforcement agency to issue political statements that were punctuated with open threats in defence of the regime in power.

“The recent statement by the Inspector General of Police Ms Stella Libongani openly threatening opposition leaders clearly points to the direction from where the police are drawing their instructions.

“This is what happens when institutions of state become a private family affair and that why we call upon these institutions to free themselves from this political bondage,” he said.

Mr Msoni said to address this conduct and unbecoming behaviour by law enforcement institutions, there was absolute need for proper constitutional reforms especially in the appointment of the heads of these agencies.

He said the appointment of these heads of institution should not be political based because someone would be compelled to obey the appointing authority and turn down the service for the people.

The concerned citizen said it was sad the persons running these institutions were only concerned to work with the people that put them in office and opt to forget that Zambians needed their service much more than the political leaders.

Masebo Tribunal puzzle

The Patriotic Front has to display more political will to convince Zambians of its commitment and determination to fight corruption.

So far this will has been singularly lacking, as the Anti Corruption Commission(ACC) is now run by sanctimonious self serving proxies who are determined to cover up the plunder of resources which they have committed with impunity.

These are the people who engineered the illegal and unconstitutional removal of the previous Director General of the ACC Captain Kayukwa who would have pursued them for their vile deeds.

That is why the ACC is tootyhless. My Kabimba and his ilk can afford to march in and dictate terms to the hapless operatives.That is indeed why we are not surprised that the Tribunal which should have investigated wrong doing by the Minister of Tourism Mr. Sylvia Masebo was die an illegal death.

When President Rupiah Banda was confronted with allegations of one of his Ministers abusing the Ministerial code of Conduct, he let the rule of law of apply. A Tribunal was established for Mrs. Dora Siliya.

Zambians don’t expect any less from a Government that has pronounced itself as being allergic to corruption. Let there be no doubt that abuse of office is indeed corruption and must therefore be dealt with the same disdain and aversion as any other criminal act.

That is why it is surprising and will be an outrageous abrogation of the rule of law if it indeed turns out that the Tribunal intended to investigate the Minister of Tourism has been cancelled by executive fiat.

Such actions will achieve three things.

Firstly it will violate the principle of separation of powers which suggests among other things that nobody is above the law, therefore the Judiciary has the power and authority to adjudicate over matters brought before it concerning the executive. This can be done by petition or indeed judicial review as the case now.

Secondly it will expose and finally confirm that the PF only embraces or observes the fight against corruption in breach than in observance.

It will prove the existence of extreme impunity, while indicating that law enforcement agencies are targeted at harassing the opposition. Police can for example, be arrested on the highway while in a convoy and be arrested for over-speeding and holding an illegal assembly at the same time.

Such Police action show a high level of partisanship which should not be the case in a liberal democracy where authority is assumed to serve the common good rather than sectarian interest of the executive.

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly it will prove the existence of judicial interference, because the appointment and subsequent constitution of a tribunal is a judicial function over which the executive should have no oversight.

Time and again the Government has shown a propensity disregard court rulings as was the case when the UPND opted a court order allowing it to hold a rally in Kanyama. The Executive through the Police simply ignored the order and proceeded to deploy Police officers in the area to ensure that the rally did not take place.

The reason for cancelling the rally has never been fully explained because more than 200 officers were deployed to stop the rally while the Police had earlier claimed that the meeting  could not take place because they had  no police officers to provide security.

These and other breaches have also been cited in the   report prepared by the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) present to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth for referral to the Commonwealth a Ministerial Action Group.

Undoubtedly the Commonwealth will have something to say about the situation in Zambia. It is likely they will share the views of the  Catholic Bishops and recommend that the country changes tack in order to fulfill the demanding and exacting rigours of liberal democracy which we have embraced.

setting up of the tribunal follows a petition to the Chief Justice by former Transport and Communications Minister, William Harrington.

He had petitioned to investigate Ms. Siliya for allegedly breaching the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act.

 

Masebo Tribunal stopped

The Judiciary has been ordered to immediately stop and abandon any more steps at constituting a Tribunal to investigate breaches of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act by Tourism Minister Sylvia Masebo.

In accordance with the law Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda had written President Michael Sata to inform him of the impending tribunal following a complaint lodged by former Minister of Transport William Harrington.

Mr. Harrington fulfilled all requirements for a tribunal to be constituted. In his re-application submitted to the office of the Acting Chief Justice, Harrington presented a list of fourteen persons who could be subpoenaed by the tribunal for purposes of verifying print and electronic media publications.

The Acting Chief Justice had requested for further details to establish the truth and make out a prima facia case against Ms Masebo before she could appoint a tribunal. He also availed to her a DVD recording of relevant statements made by Ms Masebo at her press briefings as part of his evidence in support of his application.

The tribunal when appointed was required by law to investigate allegations of abuse of office and various breaches of the law levelled against Ms Masebo in the matter of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) hunting concession licensing tender procedure.

In her letter to Harrington in response to his earlier application for the appointment of a tribunal, the Acting Chief Justice reminded him that the matter was serious one because according to the provisions of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, Ms Masebo could lose her Chongwe seat is found guilty. The Act states that “a breach of the Parts 3 and 4 of the Act shall constitute part of the code of conduct for Members of Parliament for purposes of the Constitution, a breach of which results in the vacation of the seat of the Member concerned.”

Since then, it has been learned over-whelming evidence against Ms Masebo has been collected by various agencies.

When informed of the development Mr. Harrington said he understood and appreciated the anxiety of interested and concerned citizens over perceived delay by the Acting Chief Justice in appointing a tribunal because as the adage goes “justice delayed is justice denied”.

However this, he said, applied to all parties concerned including the dismissed top ZAWA management, the successful bidders for hunting concession licenses and indeed Ms Masebo herself who obviously needed to clear her name over the allegations levelled against her.

“ In this regard, I can assure you that I intend to make a follow-up with the office of the Acting Chief Justice early in the coming week.” He said.

Mr. Harrington said he did not subscribe to the assertion that President Sata was not aware of the provisions of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act  “because the Patriotic Front Party when in opposition was very supportive of my application to appoint a tribunal to investigate the then Minister of Communications and Transport Ms Dora Siliya over the Zamtel and International Airport sagas. “ he said.

Opposition dossier on abuses is correct-Hansungule

Zambians must congratulate the opposition political parties and civil society organizations for taking the Patriotic Front (PF) government to the Commonwealth for blatant abuse of human rights, says Professor Michelo Hansungule.

In a statement made available to the Daily Nation, Prof Hansungule said that the move should be supported by all well-meaning Zambians in order to consolidate democracy in the nation.

Prof. Hansungule said that in fact, besides appealing to the Commonwealth, citizens should escalate their complaints to various other international forums provided they abide by their applicable procedures.

He said that it was their (Zambian) birthright to take grievances to whichever forum Zambia and other states had freely and voluntarily acceded to.

“Anyone who says this is unpatriotic successfully exposes their ignorance of basic international procedures and systems Zambia has long accepted as part and parcel of the civilized international community,” he said.

Prof. Hansungule said that African governments and its leaders must realize and remember that they did not own citizens’ rights.

“Herein lies their right to complain and even to peacefully take to the streets. It was precisely for this reason that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to try and prevent people from taking to the bush to solve a problem each time they have a grievance. As demonstrated recently in the Arab Spring, peace loving people everywhere have a limit as to how much they can tolerate a bad government. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the citizens’ complaints to the Commonwealth and in fact they must do it again,” he said.

Prof Hansungule said it was sad that some of the government officials in the current administration had found the move by the opposition absurd when not too long ago they defined the standards of democratic governance.

“Opposition parties and civil society organizations should be congratulated by all well-meaning people for taking the initiative to approach the Commonwealth and express their grievances over their experiences in trying to consolidate democracy in Zambia. Though they may have forgotten after bouncing back to power, some of the state officials who are now crying foul over the report of the opposition and civil society to the Commonwealth are the same ones that took part in defining these standards which today they find hard to comply with. No one imposed these standards on the Commonwealth least of all opposition or citizens,” said Prof. Hansungule.

He said that it must be understood that the international community had evolved from the time when it treated human rights as internal issue for the exclusive domain of the respective country or government to deal with.

Prof. Hansungule explained that the Commonwealth was one of the many options the opposition took in order to have their grievances heard.

He said that the commonwealth was a powerful tool that had been re-vented itself to fight the abuse of human right and promote democracy and good governance among the membership states.

“The Commonwealth has successfully been re-inventing itself towards a powerful weapon to fight for democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance,” he said.

He said that concerns raised by the leadership about the opposition and other stakeholders holding meetings on foreign land did not matter.

“Does it really matter where citizens converge to deliver their grievances? I honestly think not. If people are arrested for being at a market, going to a Chief or convening a peaceful rally, how do they go ahead and convene a press briefing in that same country to announce an international initiative which as we have seen in this case throws authorities to the margins of madness?”

He said that most of the challenges the country was going through had to do with abuse of state apparatus in particular the police.

Prof. Hansungule said that it was sad that security forces and police in particular were being biased, adding that police were not trained in interpreting statements politicians make during their rallies and cannot pretend to understand subliminal messages underlying those statements.

“ If a meeting is peaceful and it remains peaceful even after certain statements are made by those attending it, how does this bother the police? Does peace bother the police? The Constitution is very clear in that police have a binding duty to protect peaceful rallies and assemblies as dictated to by the bill of rights which is the only authority police must abide by.

 

MP’s set to impeach Sata

The Patriotic Front motion to remove the immunity of former  President Rupiah  Banda will be closely followed if not simultaneously accompanied by a motion to impeach President Sata for constitutional abrogation, MMD Solwezi Member of Parliament Lucky Mulusa has said.

Opposition lawmakers, he said, were  also determined to petition for a medical board of inquiry to examine the President’s suitability to continue at the helm of the nation.

Mr. Mulusa warned that while the PF leadership perceived the opposition to be weak, there was a common agenda  which those in the opposition wanted to protect and defend.

President Michael Sata would be impeached, he said, as soon as parliament resumed to stop him from destroying the country’s democracy. Mr. Mulusa said that when Parliament adjourned in December last year, MPs reminded the PF government to walk away from destroying the opposition to nation building.

The opposition, he said, had hoped that a new spirit of constructive dialogue would develop “these debates fell on deaf ears. We are back this week with the same destructive PF. Parliament is likely to be paralyzed as all Parliamentarians are likely to be out campaigning. The nation will lose resources unnecessarily. In the name of the people, this must stop.”

“While we expect both motions to fail, the failure of the immunity motion will be a victory for President Banda, while the failure of the impeachment motion will leave indelible marks and damage on the Presidency. It will have far reaching implications beyond the PF. It will damage the country’s current MMD underwritten investment grade credit rating.

The Rating Agencies are likely to affirm the negative outlook with a possible downgrade. This is because political risk premium will go up due to the attempted vote of no confidence on the president. Investors will hold back investment as the environment of uncertainty ensues,” he said.

He said that the petition for a medical board of inquiry though might not succeed either, would put the President in the spot light and would bring  pressure on him.

Mr. Mulusa said that the opposition was ready to face the PF in the house on various issues, adding that they would take them.

“The question the PF should ask themselves is; is this battle worth waging? For us we are ready for you in Parliament! We will take you on pound for pound and punch for punch. For far too long we have watched you pound us with so much hatred and toxic levels of desire to inflict both emotional and economic pain on the opposition. You have even failed to concentrate on running the economy for the betterment of the people. We will give you the taste of your own medicine,” he said.

He said that decision to block attempts to remove former President Banda’s immunity was in no way backed by the desire to protect wrong doing but to ensure that constitutional provisions and democratic institutions were not used by hypocrites with small, petty and unappreciative minds to achieve personal satisfaction.

“You are currently abrogating constitutional provisions. You are making unnecessary economic decisions that are not easily discernible because they appear normal to the public. Yet you are heaping huge costs on the unsuspecting public. You do not deserve the title of messiahs of the people.”

Mr. Mulusa has since urged well-meaning ‘original’ PF membership to reclaim the party’s position in society after a long struggle to power for it had been hijacked by the greedy and selfish individuals.

He said that there was need of unity of purpose among the opposition as they were under siege by the PF leadership.

Mr. Mulusa urged the PF leadership to take governance seriously unlike the way they were doing it now.

He said that it was sad that the current leadership did not give hope to the people of Zambia compared to other leaders in the Southern African region.

Provide evidence to remove RB immunity- Tayali

Those advocating for the lifting of immunity of the fourth republican President Rupiah Banda must approach the issue with reason and love for the nation and not personal vendettas, says the Zambian Voice.

Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali noted that justice and rule of law for the immunity to be lifted must go with the clear evidence or prima facie cases to justify the act.

He explained that it was right for Mr Banda to have refused to be questioned or answer anything to the ACC because he was not obliged.

“In the case of RB we think it was not in the interest of Justice to have refused to appear before the Anti Corruption Commission to be questioned, citing this article, because it is only after such investigations that evidence or a prema facie case(s) can be established. We however note that RB has the right to refuse to be questioned or answer anything to ACC or any other Law enforcers, he is not obliged.”

Mr Tayali said it was logical to speculate that those people calling for the removal of immunity had ill-intent to benefit themselves or settle scores, on the basis that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) or any other Law enforcing agency had not currently laid any case against the former President.

“We therefore wonder on what basis people are asking to have the immunity of Mr Banda lifted when currently ACC or any other Law enforcing agency has not laid any case against him. As an organization that espouses to bring unity and promote democracy we wish to throw some reflections in the light of our Constitution and Natural Law,” he said.

However, Mr Tayali has called upon Zambians not to be dragged into schemes and personal crusades to embarrass the former Head of State without just cause.

And Mr Tayali accused the investigative wing of exhibiting unprofessionalism and double standing in the operation of the ACC, especially in the case of Mr Banda.

He claimed it was unprofessional for ACC to provide or leak the letter of Mr Banda to the media because ACC could have conducted its investigations in confidence.

“It is also a double stand because on 28th January we wrote to ACC to update us on the corruption case involving Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and Defense Minister Geoffrey Mwamba, we got a response that they would not devour such information to the public because its confidential. This tendency is very common with ACC and we are concerned. If the case has something to do with a Government, it is confidential but if it is for an ordinary citizen or opposition, the accused is tried and convicted in the public,” he said.

According to Article 43 (3) of the constitution, protects the current and former Presidents from criminal prosecution unless immunity is lifted by National Assembly and for it to be lifted, there must be overwhelming evidence or prema facie case(s) that such a person would be accused of. Such evidence can only come after thorough investigations which might include questioning the accused person. In other words the article in question does not protect a person from investigations or indeed being questioned.

PF govt lacks coordination- Saunders

Various statements coming from government shows that there is no coordination in manner in which national matters are handled, the political analyst advocating for good governance Dante Saunders has charged.

Mr Saunders maintained that some of the statements were not convincing enough, but instead were regrettable as they were misleading and denting the country’s image.

The analyst said it was sad that the government officials were in the forefront blaming the opposition on their trip to South Africa when they had failed to adhere to what the Zambian people wanted.

He charged that government should never ever again blame the opposition of any step they were taking in the public interest because it had failed to open room for dialogue to solve various issues the country was facing.

Mr Saunders said the statements issued by the government on the opposition’s meeting with the Commonwealth secretariat in South Africa were not done in good faith on the basis that they were aware.

He insisted that for as long as the PF government kept on cheating the Zambians, its popularity would be lost, adding that it was sad that the Head of State was even proud of distorting the facts with an embarrassment statement that was just reflecting the character of his government.

Mr Saunders was reacting to media reports where President Michael Sata was quoted having said that the opposition leaders were seeking asylum in South Africa.

“This was the most embarrassing statements that cannot even convince the ordinary Zambians, but was aimed to disorder the opposition. And it is not a crime to be in the opposition,” he said.

 

He said some situation could have adverse on the country’s relationship with other countries, adding that he was concerned over the numerous socio-economic tensions prevailing in the country arising from bad governance principles.

Criminal asylum debacle

The fabrication about Zambian opposition leaders seeking criminal asylum in South Africa is most unfortunate.

This incident is telling about the political atmosphere in the country, a situation which the Catholic Bishops warned about in their pastoral letter.

Whoever briefed the President, deliberately misled him into believing that the opposition leaders were seeking criminal asylum  in South Africa to escape their ongoing criminal charges before courts of law.

This was of course totally untrue.

If indeed the President could be misinformed about such a relatively minor matter what other more important issues is he misled about? How many people have suffered as a result of such misinformation?

Who ever misinformed the President in this case must be carpeted and disciplined because it does not bode well for the President to make serious public assertions that are false. This takes away the credibility and trust that the people of Zambia should have in their President.

Such misinformation has serious local and international ramifications. The President referred to South African President Zuma, who he said, would not offer asylum to Mr. Banda a matter which that Government had never considered..

President Zuma must be forgiven for wondering about the capacity and quality of  our intelligence gathering system, which will fail to report accurately on the whereabouts of opposition political leaders.

This is a great shame.

This all the more so that while President Sata was speaking at State House MMD President Nevers Mumba and UPND President Hakainde Hichilema were very much within the country having returned the previous day.

By yesterday morning HH was attending the funeral of former MP Sibetta, before proceeding to participate in election campaigns while Nevers held a press conference to explain their trip top South Africa.

It is disturbing, how much time we as a country are wasting on trivialities. Critics are upset that opposition leaders addressed the media in South Africa.

Nobody has spoken about the content and substance of the opposition trip. The entire opposition trip has been trivialized to dwell on the venue- South Africa, rather than the issues that were discussed or raised in the entire exercise.

It would appear that Government is not interested in studying the content of the 40 page dossier that the opposition has already presented to the Commonwealth. This is a dossier that has documented a number of abuses that have presented with evidence.

The Commonwealth Secretariat Office in that country has a document compiled by  the e Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR).

The 40 page report, according to the authors, is prepared on behalf of victims of human and civil rights abuses. This was a result, they said of the “serious and persistent” violations of the principles of the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration by the Patriotic Front Government.

The issues raised in the report will not go away by emotive and emotional language. They must be addressed in a sober manner.

The document details information on the unlawful nature of the detentions suffered by opposition political leaders who were arrested and incarcerated three times within a period of two months.

They have further charged that  abuses have not only been committed against political leaders but also against civil society and business competitors  of their allies.

Asylum? not for me- RB "RB denies ever seeking asylum"

Former president Rupiah Banda has described as totally untrue and a malicious fabrication reports that he was seeking political asylum in South Africa.

The reports he said,   are not only untrue but a grave defamation of his character because he has never at anytime contemplated fleeing Zambia because there was no reason for doing so “I am certainly coming back home  before proceeding for other international assignments” he said.

There was absolutely no truth that the South African Government had been approached to offer him asylum.

Speaking in a telephone interview with the Daily Nation, he explained that  this was not the first time he had travelled for other destinations including South Africa and contrary to suggestions, he did not sneak out of the country but travelled through the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport for South Africa where s among other things he met with his Lawyer Robert Amsterdam who was deported and is not allowed in the country..

Yesterday President Sata accused Mr Banda and other opposition leaders of seeking asylum in South Africa and warned that he would ensure his extradition and have his immunity removed adding that South African President Jacob Zuma was not ready to grant Mr Banda asylum.

And MMD President Nevers Mumba has also denied accusations by President Michael Sata that he seeking criminal asylum in South Africa.

Dr Mumba who addressed a media briefing at his residence in Kabulonga in Lusaka, said the opposition leaders that travelled to South Africa had no intentions of leaving Zambia because they have nothing to run away from.

” If there is anything that President Sata wants to do to me and my colleagues in the opposition he will have to do it right here in Zambia,” Dr. Mumba stated.

“We didn’t go to South Africa to have a political meeting, we went there to meet our international lawyer and as you aware our lawyer Mr. Robert Amsterdam is not allowed to enter Zambia so we had to meet in a neutral environment to discuss our legal options.” He said.

And Dr. Mumba says the opposition leaders are determined to continue alerting the international community to the growing human rights abuses taking place in Zambia.

Dr. Mumba revealed that the opposition leaders will soon engage the African Union and the SADC Secretariat to present a dossier of documented human rights abuses under the PF administration.

“The document we gave the Commonwealth is about 40 pages, we will document further abuses in the next dossier we will give to the AU may be 60 pages and the SADC one might around 80 pages long.”

Dr. Mumba also appealed to President Sata to desist from telling lies.

TIZ condemned for being partisan

Transparency International Zambia (TIZ)  executive director Goodwell Lungu has been  accused of speaking on behalf of the clique of people that are holding President Sata hostage.

Human rights activist Brebner Changala condemned and accused TIZ of being led by hypocrites who are applying selective justice by planning to march to parliament to force Members of Parliament to vote for the removal of former president Rupiah Banda’s immunity

Changala has however wondered why the TIZ was taking this stand now when they had kept quiet when Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was busy flashing nolle proseques to his creditors against the rule of natural justice.

“Where have they been when the police were blocking court sheriffs from serving court orders? Where have they been when the police was blocking opposition political parties from holding public rallies?” he asked.

Mr Changala  said TIZ should understand that Zambia belonged to all citizens and “what holds us together is oneness yet diversity.”

He said that Mr Lungu should realize that many Zambians were not objecting the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity but wanted the due process of the law to be observed.

“The people of Zambia are not objecting the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity but they are objecting the anarchy and break down of the law” he said.

TIZ have said that they will pursue all available options including marching to parliament do not let down the people of Zambia if they will have an opportunity to consider lifting Mr Banda’s immunity once a prima facie case is presented to them.

On Tuesday former UPND Siavonga MP Douglas Syakalima said it was strange that TIZ was advocating for the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity without any evidence of corruption against him.

He said the double standards shown by Mr Lungu had dented the image of the organization and urged him to quit so that he could concentrate on supporting unknown agendas pushed by people with questionable characters.