By Augustin Phiri
A WEEK after President Edgar Lungu laid bare a precarious situation requiring emergency action, another has surfaced which equally requires taking similar measures to nip it in the bud.
My dear countrymen and women, standing from the stand point of credible and authentic information, most marriages in Zambia are on fire and unless stringent measures are taken quickly to check this sad situation, the country’s development agenda could be exposed to danger.
To aggravate this depressing situation, the men and women in robes, especially those who sit at high tables in local courts, are busy dissolving the blazing marriages daily instead of quenching the fire.
These officers of the bar are invalidating institutions of marriage with impunity and in total disregard to the Biblical decree which stipulates in no uncertain terms that “what God has put together, let no man put asunder.”
And yet, although these men and women in local courts are called lords, they are not Lords and Angels and neither are they anywhere near the throne of our dear Lord, for them to engage themselves in acts of ending marriages without seeking permission from above.
It may be argued that marriages and relationships between men and women are private and civil matters in which the government should not get involved.
Thinkers of this notion might be right in their own wisdom or lack of it. But look countrymen and women, a society like Zambia should be built on a firm foundation of stable marriages but what is obtaining now is frightening to say the least.
A workman belonging to a matrimonial home which is up in flames or a troubled unwedded relationship cannot be expected to apply oneself to high productivity at work.
This is where the state has a stake and this scenario definitely calls for evoking of Chapter 31 of the Constitution of Zambia again for the purpose of preserving love, romance, trust, faithfulness, transparency and honesty in both wedded and unwedded relationships to boost productivity at places of work.
Look, those who burn markets and powerlines are saboteurs just like those who set their own matrimonial homes and unwedded relationships on fire; both must be treated the same.
Allow me at this juncture countrymen and women, to present to you the situation analysis report on the second scourge at hand which also need the wrath of Chapter 31.
Recently in Mansa, Geoffrey Chanda aged 45 years, dragged his wife, Gift Chongo to court seeking divorce on grounds his that his madam was promiscuous and a thief who steals his money meant for business.
Testifying in court, Chanda said his wife of 20 years was in the habit of returning home late at night with stained underwear and claiming that she was at a church choir practice.
Reports are widespread across the country in which spouses engage in fights because some wives were in the habit of spending money meant for food on playing games of “ka red, ka white” and Bonanza gambling machines installed in markets and pubs.
In Lusaka, the marriage between Friday Daka, 38 and Idah Sibajeni, 28, both of Makeni ended in a local court because Daka had never bought his wife body lotion and human hair since they got married in 2013.
In a related incident, the Buchi Local Court in Kitwe has cancelled the 17-year-old marriage of Tiza Mwale, 40 and Davis Siwale, 42. Mwale told the court that before she married Siwale, she had a daughter with another man in a previous relationship but that Siwale has pounced on the innocent girl and has even impregnated her. But Siwale denies wrong doing.
In yet another incident, Harrison Mumba aged 35 years has complained in a Matero local court that he has since 2016 been subjected to severe “famine” at the very warm hands of his wife Elina Hangubo aged 27 years. Mumba told the court that he can no longer bear the starvation in his own bedroom and wanted to divorce his unyielding wife who refuses to heed the Bible order which says “wives must submit to their husbands.”
Incidentally these days, if you want to know the residential areas where warring couples come from, visit a local court.
Consider the following two scenarios: “Yes Madam, tell us why you have brought your husband here?” asks the court magistrate.
“My husband has the habit of inflicting forced labour on me,” she replies.
You would not be far away from guessing that this troubled couple resides in “ma yadi” the low-density but high cost localities such as Woodlands, Kabulonga, Longacres, Rhodes Park and Chelstone in Lusaka and similar townships in other cities and towns.
For, wives in these areas are well schooled by some mischievous civil society and non-governmental organizations about rights of the wife in a marriage; “no” is “no” and anything beyond this “no” constitutes rape, a criminal offence punishable by law.
“And you Madam, what brings you here with your husband?”
“My husband,” she says and pauses to clear her throat of a particle. “My husband returns home late at night always in a drunken stupor. He just slumps on the bed and wakes up the following morning without doing anything,” she adds.
This answer would point to peri-urban settlements of Chibolya, Kanyama, John Laing, Misisi, Ng’ombe, George and Marapodi/Mandevu in Lusaka and similar localities in other parts of the country.
These townships are prone to high intoxicating cocktails of illicit Kachasu whose alcoholic content remains unknown.
Wives in these areas are more traditional and are well vested about their conjugal rights in a marriage as tutored to them by “Alangizi” prior to the constitution of their marriages. They implement instructions to the letter.
Back to the topic, in Lusaka’s Kabanana Township,, the marriage of Jonathan Phiri, 30, is also on the rocks because Phiri allegedly prefers watching pornographic videos instead of attending to his wife, Prudence, according to evidence adduced in the local court.
Another matrimonial house across the Luapula River is engulfed in flames after Danny Mulenga discovered that his wife of 38 years was married to another man in the Copperbelt town of Chingola.
Justifying his case for divorce in a Chingola local court recently, Mulenga, 56, said he had allowed his wife, Florence Mubanga, 53, to travel to Chingola to visit her sick relatives.
But when Florence failed to return when the agreed period of absence had long elapsed, he decided to follow her to Chingola and upon arrival, he was flabbergasted to find his wife living with another man she had married.
Incidents highlighted in this situation analysis report, as can be seen, are just a drop in the ocean because there are many and are a menace to national peace, security and economic productivity.
And, owing to the magnitude and seriousness of the situation at hand, a fully-fledged state of emergency is required to quell the scourge and save Zambia from gliding into chaos.
As such, the men and women in uniform in the Zambia Police Service need to be accorded superpowers for them to adequately confront head-on this problem.
With superpowers, the police officers would have free passage to any house suspected to be on fire; sit on soft sofas and watch telemundo on plasma television sets, saunter to the kitchen and sample some tasty cookies before finally retiring to the bedroom and, still with dusty boots on, lie on neatly laid king and queen sized beds while the owners watched hopelessly and helplessly. Further, the officers, holding AK-47 assault rifles with sharp bayonets at the tip would then find out who between the two spouses was responsible for igniting fire in their matrimonial abode.
The culprit would be tried instantly, convicted and sentenced to house arrest to prevent him or her from going out to continue fraternizing with a side chick or side cockerel.
By the way, a state of emergency is no big deal in Zambia. This former British colony attained independence in 1964 in an environment of emergency powers which was only lifted in 1991 after multiparty elections.
It was reintroduced in 1993 to check an alleged plot to topple the government of the late President Frederick Chiluba only to be lifted again in 1998.
But going by powers sanctioned by MPs on Tuesday may not amount to a curfew unless of course the destruction of property persists But from assurance, the looming emergency powers in Parliament this may not amount to a curfew should the destruction of public infrastructure subside.
Let us do something and let God help us stop the torching of markets, other public utilities and, of course, matrimonial dwellings.