ZMA president Dr. Aaron Mujajati
ZMA president Dr. Aaron Mujajati

Dear Editor,

I write in reply to “Doctors welcome candidates’ enthusiasm to undergo tests” (The Post 05.01.15) on Zambian Medical Association (ZMA) President Dr Aaron Mujajati’s “elation” “by the enthusiasm shown by presidential candidates….”

Dr Mujajati said “the starting point” was “to engage the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and other stakeholders to create a standard guide….”
I thought “the starting point” was the death of President Levy Mwanawasa (2008) in the second year of his second term and President Michael Sata (2014) in third year of his first term, in a period of six years.In addition to the 2014 Presidential Elections 11 presidential candidates’ medical tests interest, ZMA had a publicly-advertised forum on the same, open to LAZ and other stakeholders.

In view of above, I am surprised at Dr Mujajati’s misplacement of “the starting point” and his denial or lack of or delegation of leadership by subordinating ZMA, the 11 presidential candidates and the public to the guidance and leadership of LAZ and other anonymous stakeholders.

As far as is known, health matters, of medical tests, are the domain of ZMA who should guide and lead LAZ and other stakeholders and not vice versa.

The medical tests should have political but not legal implications on validated nominations filed with the Chief Justice.
On the other hand, Dr Mujajati’s reference to LAZ should instead have benefited us with a reference to a country practicing our intention or bemoan the constitutional encumbrances in Articles 36 (2)’s academic exercise or impossibility of establishing a Medical Board which would subordinate medical professionals to lawyers (as Dr Mujajati has conceded) or parliamentary debate and vote on purely medical matters.

Further, Article 39 (4) has “a certificate of the Chief Justice” which “such certificate is ratified by the National Assembly” which is not a medical professional body and which certificate is not a medical certificate as the Chief Justice is not a medical professional.

ZMA among other professionals have desired a constitutional review to elevate their medical profession, even the creation of the Office of Surgeon General (equivalent of, not subordinate to, Attorney General or Auditor General).

Importantly, the doctor-client (patients) relationship as regards the 11 presidential candidates, as in the cases of HIV/AIDS, circumcision (MPs promotions), cancer (Thandiwe Banda) and other tests have demonstrated, the client’s final say over ZMA and LAZ and other stakeholders.

If ZMA and Dr Mujajati should understand something of the clients’ or patients’ rights, it is the clients’ rights to do what they choose with medical test results, as pointed out. I am also aware doctors’ rights to test results as in case of contagious diseases or outbreaks. For example, doctors quarantine or detain clients without consent or guidance of LAZ or Zambia Police or other stakeholders. I am also aware that clients can advertise their results in the media without breaching anything.

In short, the 11 presidential candidates’ enthusiasm thereby consent should have been “the starting point” and final say over ZMA, LAZ and other stakeholders. In other words, Dr Mujajati’s professional position was to follow the lead of clients as well as concede powerlessness on a publicly resolved matter.

Otherwise, I was convinced ZMA and Dr Mujajati’s work had been made easy by the clients and all ZMA (not LAZ and other stakeholders) needed to do was guide on the selection of facilities and practitioners in view of the 15 days countdown to the polling day, Tuesday, 20th January, 2015. (I am also aware medical tests in question are not technical operations and not necessarily a doctor’s job.)

I also thought medical professionals say health is an asset more important than material assets that presidential candidates legally declare to the Chief Justice. And more than the first medical test before of the job, ZMA should have guided on follow up annual reviews.

Well, ZMA publicly wants LAZ and other stakeholders, like me, to guide it on its specialty.

Therefore, I found Dr Mujajati flat, self contradictory (“If this opportunity is not managed properly….” “challenge or rather enthusiasm” “valid concern”) and misleading (“sign informed consent”) on this matter as regards professionalism, privacy, secrecy, public or common interest or good versus personal interest.
If I have misread and misunderstood Dr Mujajati, I will appreciate his clarification. As opposed to general health we could debate fitness as the presidency is about performance under stress and not just general health.

Kind Regards,

By Kasebamashila Kaseba

Kaseba is a Lusaka literary and research journalist, presenter of INTROSPECTION, Prime Television (703.250, Saturday 18:00), on newspaper headlines, the media and professional ethics.
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25 COMMENTS

  1. Mr.Kaseba,Dr.Mujajati is right when he says that
    “the starting point” was “to engage the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and other stakeholders to create a standard guide….”
    LAZ was established by an Act of Parliament,ZMA is not a constitutional body and that is the reason why the custodians of laws have to be consulted.

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    • Take your illegality with you in Zambezi deep waters and leave our constitutional republic in issue based campaigns and stability. The Zambian Medical Association is a professional body. Its alive to the fact your tests calls have no constitutional backing. You cite such a clause to protect them from litigations. Candidates have filed nominations and have a swath of the national constituency to canvas for votes. Why should they deviate for unconstitutional call?

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    • @Senior Citizen scared perhaps of a Team EL/RB knockout from the race! Aka ka Dr Mujajati ‘kani tundira’!

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    • Nothing to fear. I’m a product of constitutional systems, precedency and the bill of rights. If not constitutionally covered, don’t count me in for the waggon of illegality. You want to turn it in a cashcow for some financially struggling candidates? We the same tax pay could end up paying in the litigation with our pain. Let the ballot give the verdict period. That is the “democracy does not fight democracy” Democracy Peace Theory i understand better. We can propound it in post election if need be.

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    • All government employees take tests before starting work. My question is this, will the presidential medical form be different? If not why are politicians scared?

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  2. Where else in the world is this testing nonsense part of the process ? When we talk about issue based politics this is what we mean. The USA has had so many presidents dying in office throughout its history and not once have we heard sick proposals like these.

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    • Those in USA has personal doctors who can give useful information on personal health of any particular person on request. Bill Clinton the then president of USA was due to travel and meet the Russian president, but his doctors stopped him on health grounds. Unlike Sata, MHSRIP he travelled to USA while sick. Where was his doctors who could have advise him not to travel???

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    • Presidents go for physicals in America and the results are availed to the public. If you are a public figure there is no privacy. If there any existing health issues prior to elections, they will be laid in the public domain. The American presidents who died in office did NOT start their jobs already sick. Either they became sick while in office or they were shot dead.

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  3. Medical Association is an association of intellectuals not petty minded nincompoops with hell bent intentions of discrimination and divisiveness typical of upnd.Honestly, Is this a party that should aspire to lead the country? Lets vote for a party that promotes healthy matters by already building 650 Health posts country wide. ABASH upnd and VIVA PF!IFINTU NILUNGU!

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    • I agree with Virgin Angel. Only in Africa is a Head’s of State’s illness shrouded in secrecy. A head of state is a servant of the people who voted him into office but here in Zambia an elected leader is treated like a Monarch or chief. Hence they feel that they cannot be questioned.

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  4. Where else in the world is this kind of testing part of the process ? When we talk about issue based politics this is what we mean. The USA has had so many presidents dying in office throughout its history and not once have we heard sick proposals like these.

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  5. Medical clearance: Incumbent vice president and 2009 presidential candidate Jusuf Kalla (second from left) along with several other presidential and vice presidential hopefuls undergo health screening at the Army Hospital in Jakarta on Sunday.

    All candidates are required by law to undergo medical screening.(Antara/Saptono)

    ****

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  6. To avert the calamity that had befallen the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and by extension the nation following the July 24, 2012 untimely demise of then President John Evans Atta Mills, the New Patriotic Party is said to have attached utmost seriousness to the health status of aspirants jostling for the flag bearer position of the party, less than six months to the party’s congress to elect a flag bearer for the 2016 elections.

    As a way to ensure whoever emerges as the party’s 2016 flag bearer is as fit as a fiddle, the national executives of the party is contemplating asking all seven aspirants to make themselves available for medical screening before they would be allowed to contest the covetous position. In other words, the aspirant

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  7. Miners go for medicals before starting work so what’s big deal with Presidential candidate? We have spent so much money on bye election. Let’s save money have them medically assessed.

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  8. In the United States, the singular test for a Presidential candidate’s mental and emotional capacity is the Presidential campaign. The determination of the mental health of the candidate is left up to the electorate to decide, employing as its principal assessments the candidate and the campaign. In other words, the emotional and psychological competence of the world’s most powerful “leader” is decided by a lay electorate, culled from practiced readings of the words of others, drilled responses, rehearsed mannerisms, selective pandering, and myriad other theatrics his/her image makers connive. It’s an assessment of a performer who’s been groomed to play a part, which explains why TV news so often runs intros like “Who’s the REAL Hillary? Who’s the REAL Obama? and Who’s the REAL McCain?

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  9. Egypt’s Health Minister Adel el-Adawy received on Thursday a decree to hold physical and mental medical examinations on candidates to run for president.

    A report on the candidates’ suffering from any physical or mental diseases that may affect their performance in duty will be prepared, Adawy said.

    The health directorate will hand the medical report to the candidate to be able to present it to the High Election Commission within the paperwork required to run for president, he added.

    The minister pointed out that the standards to be implemented on the candidates for presidency are the same as those required for appointment in other government positions.

    *****

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  10. @ Mo taim ready this book and comment

    books.google.***medical+test+for+president+candidates*******
    Choosing the health candidate”. Then advice us if you statement is correct!

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  11. Bloggers here is a new slogan to use:

    “Ifintu ni Lungu. Umuntu in HH”

    Umuntu means well. Vote for Umuntu HH.

    Ifintu means no vision. I don’t know if PF really knew what where up to when coming up with their slogan. That’s what happens when Gods time comes. There is confusion in the camp of PF. The prophecy is that soon other PF members will stop campaigning for Edgar Lungu. Total confusion.

    God’s time is the best. God has heard the prayers from faithful Christians to liberate this country from abject poverty and restore it where it is supposed to be.

    HH is the chosen one to lead this country.

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  12. Logic is like kryptonite to a substantial number of the electorate, unfortunately.

    A presidential candidate must meet the most basic requirement for any job – a mental and physical capacity to discharge the duties of office.

    Just How do you suggest this is determined????

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  13. Don’t blame the Zambian Medical Association. The whole country is rotten. If the system can allow a known drunkard and a lawyer who stole a client’s money to stand for presidency clearly such a country has no morals. If the system can allow someone whose mother is a foreigner to stand for the highest office of republican president and yet the constitution says otherwise then you know the country is not serious with anything. Leave the ZMA out of this joke please. Let the sick Zambian presidents continue dying in office to provide good business to undertakers and embalmers abroad.

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  14. LAZ is not mandated by law to provide advice on such matters. It is up to the parties concerned to seek independent legal advice on how they wish to have their results disclosed .A similar matter has been looked at before when LAZ was consulted by Scott to provide guidance on what the constitution says with regards who is supposed to act as President in the event of that a President dies.

    The answer which came from LAZ is as I have stated above. I think what we should bear our minds is that LAZ is a regulatory body for Lawyers just like ZMA is for doctors. If a patient is in need of treatment they can not consult ZMA but practicing Doctors. The law applicable is that to do consent. Everyone is aware that Lungu , Masebo, HH Nawakwi and Mumba are consenting adults.

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    • @16 You are spot on. ZMA if they had any doubts as to disclosure of confidential information should have consulted their advocate, and I hope it has one, which I doubt following Dr. Mujajati’s comments.

      Even LAZ as a professional body engages advocates to represent it in court proceedings. Dr. Mujajati, use part of members’ contributions for a legal opinion on this one.

      One of the waiver of confidential information is client’s consent. So where a client consents that my medical records should be availed to the public, you as a practitioner can never be held liable.

      This I believe cuts across professions, including ZMA. So if this is the case with ZMA, then why should Dr. Mujajati “run” to LAZ. Could it be fear or ignorance of his professional ethics?

      This country, Eishi!

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  15. It’s safe to say if many were tested there would be a panic because we all know most are ill and have been infected with serious illnesses. It is a shame that in 2015 people are afraid of disclosing for example their HIV/AIDS status especially when we see politicians rumoured to be ill, parade with multiple partners and having children from multiple partners. It’s not about putting people on the spot but having healthy people to help build an healthy economy. So far 3 presidents are no longer with us and the present one rumoured to be ill and should serve as a lesson. This should be mandatory and we should look at the very examples we already have. Once in politics your life is no longer private because you made that choice. It’s people rights to know because they vote you in power.

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Comments are closed.