Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Zambian Presidency and the constitution

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Kitwe Constitution

Now that President Sata has been put to rest, it is only fair that we as a nation begin to reflect over the events of the last few months and seek answers from within ourselves, in dialogue and indeed in debate with others. I am sure that there will not be a shortage of topics for debate few weeks and months leading up to January 2015. But I wanted to start off with our proposed constitution and indeed if there are lessons, to be captured, from the recent events that can inform our current draft constitution before it becomes Law.

Over the last three years we have had a prolonged debate over the constitution and the need for a new people driven legal framework. Unfortunately, the debate seems to have been diverted and people became preoccupied with discussions on whether or not, we shall be given the desired constitution by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Government.

However, it is now safe to at least suggest that it is inevitable that whoever forms the next Government, in January 2015, will have little choice but to commit to, and deliver a new constitution for the Country.

It is therefore my view that Zambia is at a crossroads and there is need to make sure that any new constitution addresses all pertinent issues especially the redistribution of power in a manner that allows the nation to function efficiently without being held hostage by one person or indeed a cartel, or any given institution. Are we sure that our draft constitution is clear on whether or not one Acting President can hand over power to another person who will merely be Acting, for a limited period, as well? Why should it be this way and is there any real need for it?

The proposed constitution is still in draft and therefore has room to address some of the issues that we have been faced with over the last few months in relation to the Presidential office. It will also need to address the PARENTAL CLAUSE as well as the dual nationality issues. To simply skim over these issues and allow anyone to aspire for the Presidency or gain Zambian Citizenship, will be irresponsible and a failure to protect our sovereignty as a people of this nation.

Since the demise of President Sata, we have seen the current constitution torn apart over the parentage clause and whether or not Guy Scott qualifies to be Acting President. It is this part of the article that I want to focus my proposed “DEBATE” in the hope that readers and the nation at large can reflect and add value to the draft constitution before we loss yet another opportunity and end up with another bad Law.

I shall make my position known from the onset, in respect of this contentious subject. In my considered opinion Zambia should retain the Parental Clause and demand that anyone aspiring to be President and therefore head of state and the armed forces, should have both his/her parents background firmly rooted into Zambia – not simply by nationality but, better still, by Birth as well.

I don’t even think that this should be a discussion point as the majority of Zambians (by decent or birth) will not be adversely affected by such a clause. We have to note that even the best Laws will not serve everyone’s interests but as long as it serves a good purpose and benefits, or protects the majority of the people then it is a good Law.

It is important to fully comprehend that the Presidential Office is not just any other high office. It is not simply a complicated CEO’s office of a multinational corporation were anyone with the right CV can aspire to without having the full fiber of patriotism to the nation and its people, the culture and full of the blood that flows through the veins of that people. To elect a person to the office of the President that might, in the slightest, bear some divided loyalty to another nation is to degrade the very fundamentals of a sovereign nation.

Now let’s take Guy Scott as an example. Can we say with absolute certainty that Guy Scott does not have a second nation he qualifies to call home? Scott claims that he is as Zambian as anybody in the country and therefore finds it absurd to be barred from standing for the office of President (Africa 360). He actually claims that his blood is “black blood”. Yes, we can take his word for it and accept his proclamations particularly that he has been heavy involved in the political spheres of the nation for over 20 years.

But can we afford to continue to be blinded by people’s utterances alone when it comes to our constitution and the Office of the President? We are all too aware that not all claims by political aspirants turn out to be true. In fact Guy Scott has been exposed as a liar who is on record misleading Zambians and Parliament in particular over the health of President Sata. He claimed that Sata was fit and working when in fact Sata was seriously ill. If Scott can lie to the nation about something that was so obvious to everyone, what else can he lie about? And for our constitution and the Office of the President, we have to ensure that we protect Zambia against any diluted loyalties or even claims of being a patriotic Zambian when the potential for divided loyalties are possible – even in the remotest.

It is my understanding that Guy Scott was born in Livingstone in 1944 to British parents. He went to School in what was then Southern Rhodesia where he completed his basic education. He then went on to Cambridge University in the UK before returning to Zambia and gained employment.

I am not aware of the circumstances in which he later moved back to the UK where he gained employment as a lecturer, but there remains a cloud of doubt as to whether or not Guy Scott has NEVER held a British Passport. Did he attend University in the UK as an international student from Zambia? Did he gain his UK employment as an expatriate from Zambia? Or did he study and gain employment in the UK as a British Citizen? If so, then where does that leave our debate on the parental clause? And is he claiming to have “black blood” simply for political expediency? Can we really afford to leave our constitution open to “chancers” who can choose a nationality for personal gain?

Zambia is at a crossroads and we need to look carefully at where we want to go. One can argue that Guy Scott has an “alternative homeland”. Those Zambians with both parents born (or by decent) in Zambia haven’t got this option.

It can be argued that an individual, irrespective of where in Zambia they were born, will have some loyalty or indeed identify themselves with the culture and tribal identity of that of their parents. I can argue this to be the same when it comes to ones nationality. People will identify themselves to the nationality of their parents irrespective of where in the world they were born.

One has an inherent affinity to his cultural and national identity based on that of his parents. Guy Scott may claim to have Zambian blood but there is unequivocal evidence of his “ties” to his parent’s national identity. I, for one, cannot accept that Guy Scott does not, at any point consider himself as a Zambian of Scottish decent. If he does, then this cannot be ignored when it comes to our Presidential office.

This is not an attack on Guy Scott but his name has been used to illustrate the potential issues and can be applied to anyone who ties to another nation.

Concerned citizen

15 COMMENTS

    • @ concerned citizen

      Just because you do not know where your parents came from does not make you a “real” Zambian.

      All the people in Zambia today are descended from ancestors that came from somewhere else. Muzungus just kept better records because they wrote it down.

      Your shallow thinking shows your mental inferiority. There are many people that love Zambia that are not even Zambian Citizens.

      And there are lots of Zambians (some of them current politicians!) that only care about stealing as much as they can, and do not care a damn about Zambia or its people.

      Wake up you M0R0N!

  1. Well articulated. Us Zambians should be awake from our slumber indeed we cant afford to “..leave our constitution open to “chancers” who can choose a nationality for personal gain..”

  2. The last 50 years Zambia has been ruled by dictators who oppressed their people by subjecting us to fear of man. Kaunda’s UNIP and Chiluba’s MMD are the only parties that ruled Zambia because PF was actually a UNIP wing. When Chiluba became president KK was depressed but soon when Sata became KK was revived, trotted, run around everywhere and would call pf “our party” and Sata as his boy. God has closed the UNIPand MMD factors into the last 50 years and its over for them they shall never rule again hence the confusion reigning in the 2 parties. There is no legacy to perpetuate in this era and the jubilee president is HH and UPND for party. So voting for UNIP/PF and or MMD is fighting God.

  3. The article by ‘concerned citizen’ regarding the Parentage clause in the Zambian constitution implies the following:
    a) By stating that whoever aspires for the office of President “should have both his/her parents background firmly rooted in Zambia..”. The author does not firstly consider the fact that Zambia did not exist before 24th October 1964 or that there is a supreme court ruling over the same matter. He does not address that fact that, by his assertion of that clause, people like Kenneth Kaunda (for whom the clause was engineered) are excluded from aspiring for that office.
    b) People like KK, by implication, are not Patriotic. He implies, therefore, that Chiluba was more patritic than KK simply by an accident of birth.
    c) The sacrifieces that Guy Scott has given are…

    • SM. You rise very good points.
      I wish to comment on point (a). You rightly say that Zambia did not exist before 24th October,1964. Article 4 of the constitution of Zambia before amendment in 1996 stated that ” Every person who immediately before the commencement of this constitution was a citizen of Northern Rhodesia shall be a citizen of Zambia”. Note that any person who was resident in Northern Rhodesia but was a citizen of another country on the 24th of October, 1964 did not become a citizen of Zambia because Zambia did not adapt duel citizenship.
      I just thought of bring that to your attention in case you might need it. I could be wrong though.

  4. Concerned citizen,you do not deserve space to write what you have written.By now you should have given us answers about Dr Scott,whether he had a British passport and the like.Thats why I don’t believe the cartel story:it’s blah,blah,blah…..

  5. I do not agree with this author on the parentage clause. It was simply a bad Law targeting an individual. This Law should be changed and we revert to the previous clause. The Issue of divided Loyalt does not arise. The President does not operate in isolation. There are other institutions that can monitor the executive. Talk about the separation of powers by the three arms of Government. If really there was an aota of danger in allowing People like Scott to be leader of a nation, then Obama would not have been President Of USA. Obama is in the last 2 years of his tenure. Would you say he has shown any divided loyalty? Lets be progressive. The presidency is any institution and has alot of checks and balances.
    Simply put i dont agree to your assertions and the parantage cluases is a NO.

  6. The fallacy of this article is that ‘indigenous’ is equal to sacrifice,service and total commitment to the cause of one’s country. The experiences of many African countries contradicts this

  7. I believe that freedom of speech can unite or destroy a nation. What matters is to censor your beliefs before uttering them to the public. I think one is more Zambian by birth and loyalty than by skin and interests.

    Guy Scott is more Zambian than some of you claiming to be Zambian. He has contributed to Zambia’s development more than most of us, and he has his investiments here. STOP BEING RACIST!

  8. Why do we give audience to such people like this concerned lunatic? The problems we have been facing in Zambia are a result of allowing people of this backward way of thinking dictate our lives. Learn to think out of your box young man.

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