President Lungu during the first-ever Zambia Medical association annual ball and awards gala at Inter Continental Hotel in Lusaka on Saturday, December 19,2015 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA
President Lungu during the first-ever Zambia Medical association annual ball and awards gala at Inter Continental Hotel in Lusaka on Saturday, December 19,2015 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA

Letter to President Edgar Lungu

Your Excellency,

Choice greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Name above all names!

Your Excellency, I am compelled to react to part of your statement in Kasama yesterday. On Tuesday 15th December 2015 during the evening news, the ZNBC reported your speech in Kasama, whereby you declared the following, inter alia, that “under the new Constitution, when it comes I shall sign it with eyes closed because that is what Zambians wanted”. As a very concerned Zambian I was startled and alarmed to hear my President pledge to sign this solemn document with eyes closed without assigning a plausible reason. You may have justifiable reasons but you did not state them.

Your Excellency, the following are some of the reasons why you must keep your eyes open as you read and meditate before you sign the Constitution:

1.NO TIMELY BOLD POLICY POSITION DURING THE SECOND READING OF THE BILLS: There are contentious issues in National Assembly Bills N.A.B. Numbers 16 and 17 over which your Emissary to Parliament, the Honourable Minister of Justice Hon Ngosa Simbyakula, DID NOT OR NEGLECTED to present a policy statement during the Second Reading stages of the said Bills. Surprisingly, he had submitted to the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Gender Matters and Child Affairs, that your Executive had no position on the Constitution. A bold policy statement during the Second Reading would have assisted MPs to focus on and debate salient issues before voting.

2.PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATIONS: Article 44 of the current Constitution obliges you, Mr President, to protect, administer and execute the Constitution. As the Fountain of Justice you MUST NOT close your eyes to demands for justice, for example as demanded by at least six opposition political parties regarding the 1000 threshold of supporters for a presidential candidate (Heritage Party is on record at Parliament against this provision). You have arbitrarily rejected the grievance out of hand without a hearing. Justice is one of the pillars of democracy, and you are under oath to administer and execute justice without closing your eyes when citizens petition you.

3.CHRISTIAN NATION DECLARATION: Mr President, you recently publicly reiterated and affirmed that Zambia is a Christian Nation. Consequently I urge you, with your eyes open and in serious meditation as a believer, to examine the New Preamble by comparing the following declarations in the said Preamble:

i. “DECLARE the Republic a Christian Nation while upholding a person’s right to freedom of conscience, belief or religion”.

ii. “RECOGNISE AND UPHOLD the multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural character of our Nation….”

I petition you to personally make a public policy pronouncement on these two provisions and clarify the need for the second declaration, especially the motive of this extended verbiage which seems to counter the first one.On this issue, my President, DO NOT emulate Pontius Pilate.

4.CITIZENSHIP: Please expound and clarify your policy regarding the following questions:

i. On the Wholesale and Ambiguous Declaration of Dual Citizenship: please clarify the following. A Zambian named Edgar acquires citizenship of a country called Zombie. War breaks out between Zambia and Zombie. For which country must Edgar fight? If Edgar chooses to fight for Zombie against Zambia, will he be amenable to treason charges in Zambia since he has breached his allegiance or loyalty to Zambia, or will he get away scot-free? Will you remove the treason offences from the current penal statutes?

ii. Obligations of Commander-in-Chief: As Commander-in-Chief, what safeguards do you envisage in the execution of this “dual citizenship”? As an alleged “multi-racial” country literary every race on planet earth has a right to lay claim to their inheritance of Zambia, even those coming from countries that promote terrorism. Even in the Bible you find a clear distinction between local or indigenous people and foreigners. Before you assent please make clear these distinctions which are intended to assure the survival of Zambians and to safeguard the security and sovereignty of the State. I petition you to facilitate such a consultative forum before you assent.

iii. Compensation of Citizens: Since citizens are obliged to defend the Constitution why should they be compensated for carrying out citizens’ obligations? Who will fight to defend Zambia if invaded by Martian forces if compensation be a condition precedent to national service? Is this a bribe enshrined in the Constitution? Will you do the same for, say, Whistle Blowers?

5. Land: God has stopped creating new lands. So it is a priority issue much, much more than 50 % and should take precedence at the beginning of the Constitution; we are Zambians because of land; our chiefs are chiefs because of land and its peoples; citizens should sacrifice to die for their land! Clause 262 (1) states inter alia, “land shall be held, used and managed in accordance with the following principles (c) recognition of indigenous cultural rites”. This is good; but how do you recognise ‘indigenous rites’ without recognising the actual indigenous tribes? The 73 tribes must be recognised in the Constitution. That said, Mr President, how do you intend to protect the indigenous populace, now that you are about to declare Zambia a ‘multi-racial’ nation, without any restrictions or clear and unambiguous definition of this declaration? With your open eyes please visit Mungule chiefdom and comment on what is happening there. The Nkomeshya chiefdom and maybe other areas are not spared. We have had the British people (our former colonisers) for many years before independence and after but we have not experienced this “Scramble for Zambia” as is now happening under the schemes of some of your so-called investors. Your Excellency, I petition you to facilitate such a consultative forum before you assent to the Constitution.

we have not experienced this “Scramble for Zambia” as is now happening under the schemes of some of your so-called investors

6. Political Parties:

a. Why must tax payers pay for private clubs called ‘political parties’? There is no justification. Since you have emphasised the need to reduce costs, is this not a contradiction? Please explain because your Minister did not raise this in his Second Reading statement and many such contradictions.
b. Why must a political party that has not filled in some administrative forms be dissolved? Is this not a breach or abridgement of the right to freedom of assembly and association already granted under Article 21 of the current Constitution?
c. What is the rationale for the 1000 threshold as presidential supporters? What does it prove if you have 1000 supporters when filing your candidature? Does this guarantee that those 1000 will vote for you? What will stop those with money to buy supporters the same way they buy votes? Why complicate our hard won democracy? Does it mean that promoters of 50 % plus one vote have no confidence in their scheme? Just leave it to voters to decide instead of creating artificial road blocks.

7. Defence and Security: literary nothing has been said about the continued existence and survival of our nation and state. The right time is now when the Constitution is being considered and before assent. Are you, Mr President, going to allow political parties to come into government with parallel Defence and Security structures as has happened in recent times?

8. SOURCE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR POLITICAL PARTIES:
a. This is a loophole where those with money, especially foreign interest groups, launder money to control which party wins elections. Beneficiaries of such dirty money become captive presidents. What is your position on this before you assent? Meditate with open eyes.
b. I am concerned about the First Family. What measures have you put in to ensure that our First Lady’s integrity is not compromised even if she may have “good intentions”? Better now than later during contentious litigation. The 2016 election has been imminent and you know it. Ignore the ECZ proclamation of an official campaign period; I contend that this has no force of law, otherwise those with devious minds can commit election offences with impunity. Let us protect the First Lady who may mean well, yet she is clearly on an election campaign mission. Do not listen to the usual praise-singers who are praising her; they will disappear as soon as they smell trouble.

9. MEDIA FREEDOM: this is a joke and you must surely know it Mr President! This is 50 years after independence and we are still quarrelling over access to public media. We have gone back to days of the One-Party State. Public media news used to be KK, Central Committee, Ministers, Party cadres, in that order and then a little about the rest. Today it is the same.

10. COMBINING THE REFERENDUM WITH THE 2016 ELECTIONS: Need I say more? This is another questionable scheme which must not be carried out. Do not take advantage of the majority uninformed and illiterate citizens! It is deceptive to have a “One answer referendum” when responding to serious constitutional issues such as amending Part III. Remember the literacy levels of most of our people; remember the one-sided coverage of news by special interest groups. Remember your Ministers preamble during the Second Reading which contradicts his “single answer” theory.

As you may be aware, Your Excellency, it is NEITHER AUTOMATIC NOR MANDATORY for you to assent to a Bill in the form it has been conveyed to you. The process requires careful examination and even consultation before assenting. Appending the Presidential signature completes the act of enactment! I appeal that you revisit your decision to sign with closed eyes, meaning without serious examination of the contents and/or even complaints. It is a serious and solemn constitutional duty for you to undertake with all your faculties at full throttle.

Last but not least, Your Excellency, if you are serious about your clarion call for unity, you should facilitate a national indaba so that we can engage one another as one family and seek to find a way out of the new ‘frontier’ you have designed for us since the reasons I have listed are NOT exhaustive. But as of now I am mainly concerned with your intention to assent to our Constitution blind-folded! Please revise this decision and engage us. Many of us mean well for our country. As a citizen I am at your beck and call and personally ready to clarify and/or amplify any issue raised should you deem this necessary. The nation is at an unclear cross roads; and yet your decision is a grave matter deserving serious attention. Your Excellency, unity can never be achieved by pronouncements; actions speak louder than words.

May the Lord richly bless you and give you the wisdom to consider the matters in the national interest. Peace be with you and your family.

GODFREY MIYANDA,
BRIGADIER GENERAL,
ONE OF MANY CONCERNED ZAMBIANS
[16TH DECEMBER 2015]

NB:

As this is a matter of public interest I shall make this paper available to the general public after delivery to your office. Your copy is the only one distributed for now. Other copies will be released a reasonable time after delivery to your office.
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35 COMMENTS

  1. Very valid points raised..at least visible to those who use their brains to think deeply.Why was it necessary to declare Zambia a christian nation and then add an ambiguous line about other religions.So if the Muslims want to implement sharia law in Zambia are they now protected constitutionally because the second clause says it up holds other religions? One reason we need educated MP’s ..they are now giving President Lungu more homework to decipher the irrelevant sentences and clauses they added to the amendment

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    • Those who doubt the validity of “scramble for zambia” should ask all native peoples especially native americans how indegenous folk got marginalised by “stupid chiefs and leaders” of times Long gone – wake-up imwe maZambia; it’s essentially what Field Ruwe wrote earlier in the week; For now YET AGAIN THANK GOD FOR ONE MIYANDA !!

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    • It is irresponsibility of unprecedented proportion for a president to state that he would sign a bill into law with eyes closed. Mr. President, you need to realize you are not a comedian. Focus on the job, please twapapata. These are serious issues about which you cannot afford to go into comedic mode. You are disgracing the presidency. What you or do not do, and how you do what you, all have a bearing on the course of our country’s history.

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    • Read the constitution in conjunction with other laws of Zambia. The Penal Code of the laws of Zambia does not allow for sharia law. As for you Sieze Banda, learn to recognize humour.

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  2. Does it mean that after the President signs the new constitution, there will be no further amendment to it? Just go ahead Mr President and sign this document that has consumed so much money then continued amendment by parliament should follow.

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  3. Comment:rubbish. useless theories.intellectualism .constitution shld b signed and made into law as soon as possible

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    • TO OUR BELOVED EDGAR. C. LUNGU, YOU ARE MY MAN, I BESEECH YOU NOT TO IGNORE GENERAL MIYANDA’S VIEWS, THE ARE VALID POINTS WORTH TO BE CONSIDERED BY YOUR OFFICE.

      SURELY FELLOW ZAMBIANS TAKE TIME TO READ AND THINK BEFORE YOU START CALLING THE GENERAL NAMES, THIS MAN MEANS WELL HE LOVES THIS COUNTRY A NATIONALIST INDEED THROUGH AND THROUGH. MY HUMBLE APPEAL TO MY BELOVED LEADER PRESIDENT LUNGU KINDLY CONSIDER BRING THIS MAN INTO THE PF RANKS HE CAN BE AN AN ASSET TO THIS COUNTRY. FELLOW ZAMBIANS MY HEART IS BLEEDING TO SEE SOME REMARKS FROM KCI, AND JOHN BANDA.

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  4. In addition, I would like to advise General Miyanda to watch “12 Angry men”. It a 1957 movie that depicts 12 member of a Jury about to convict a young man of murder. One of the key witnesses in this case was an old man who I relate to be like you. This old man’s opinions in his entire life has never been taken serious, always shelved in the end he decided to lie about seeing a young man commit murder just so that he can feel heard and important. If one cannot raise 1000 supporters per province, they are just wasting ballot paper and peoples time.

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  5. Gen miyanda its time to move forward. Those observations you ve made can be amended later . a constituition once signed is not cast in stone. just work hard and have mps in parliament who can later on instigate any amendments. Zambia is too big to be listening to each voice. Majority rules so wether you are right or wrong the majority have spoken

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  6. @Maharaji, ask General Miyanda who wanted Zambia to be declared christian nation! He dragged the late FTJ to make the declaration himself! All that he is trying to do is to cement his desires to see other religions in Zambia not given freedom of worship! That man is just a S–A-K-E that cannot be trusted. In any case, is there anything new that have been added to what was the draft for he himself participated in debating? If there is nothing new that has been added then where is the problem? The President is just going to append his signature to what people have demanded for!

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    • Kabu I will ask Miyanda meanwhile there are other issues he has raised must you ignore those because you disagree with one point? Zambia is a christian nation.There are lots of Muslim nations and no one makes noise about that or asks them to be a bit more ambiguous why should we be ambiguous with what we mean by christian nation? Don’t lie that the amendments are what the people wanted.It’s largely what the PF MP’s wanted. Most of Zambians have not cared about the nitty gritty aspects of the constitution all we have been thinking is the 50 plus 1 but there is a whole lot more that we should be concerned about

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  7. OMG! Gen. Miyanda is using himself as the best standard for deciding what should be in the constitution. But all the points he is raising are mere suppositions. If democracy worked the way Gen. Miyanda is suggesting it would be a mockery & traversty for those of us who place some hope in systems & democratic institutions such as the law making process, parliament & the presidency. Gen. Miyanda has read the constitution bill & grossly misunderstood it. He is expressing defective opinions & personal beliefs that he wants to impose on Zambians simply because he has a platform which he is abusing. We can’t be playing with this important process like this. The time for expressing opinions is already gone & we need this constitution like yesterday. God help Zambia!

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  8. If there is anything more admirable from Gen. Miyanda it is the civility with which he brings his points across and the respect he has for the office of the Presidency. Even when you are inclined to think Gen. Miyanda is not such a factor in Zambian politics you are compelled to give time to the concerns he raises because of the maturity and calmness with which he does so. I wish HH and other politicians can emulate General Miyanda’s maturity in addressing national issues. Keep it up General!!!

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  9. Ok, I have never agreed with him but I seem to agree. Why should we be funding political parties, and what political parties should be funded?
    I need clarity!

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  10. THERE WILL NEVER BE A CONSTITUTION ON EARTH ON WHICH EVERYONE WILL BE AGREED. GEN MIYANDA HAS RAISED SOME GENUINE QUESTIONS. BUT SOME OF THEM ARE ILL-TIMED, OTHERS CAN BE ADDRESSED USING DIFFERENT FORA, OTHERS CAN BE ADDRESSED LATER, NOT NOW. OTHERWISE WE WILL BE GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES FOR EVER. WE HAVE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS ALREADY AND WE MUST MOVE ON. THE STORIES OF INDABAS IS NOT NEW. WE HAVE BEEN HOLDING INDABAS FOR A LONG TIME AND NOTHING COMES OUT OF THEM. THEY ARE A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. WHAT LUNGU WANTS TO CONSENT TO IS A RESULT OF AN INDABA. SO WHY DO YOU NEED AN INDABA ON TOP OF ANOTHER INDABA WHICH IS THE OUTCOME OF OTHER INDABAS? NO, BA GENERAL. WE ARE TIRED OF THIS AND WE MUST MOVE ON. YES THE PRESIDENT MUST SIGN WITH HIS EYES WIDE OPEN.

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  11. Good article but there are no 73 tribes in Zambia please correct that wrong history written by foreign M.Sc students. Multi-racial does not mean all races get automatic citizenship into Zambia. clauses (i) and (ii) do not contradict at all, except when misread. Sir where were you when a call was made for contributions? Your article seem ill timed as you seem to have just waken up from your slumber. The Constitutions of nations evolve and keep on evolving. The American constitution for example keep on being improved on since time immemorial. Sir hold your fire and prepare your contribution for the next amendments the train is on its way to somewhere.

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    • 27 Amendments to the US Constitutions are about the rights of citizens, articles that have been adopted by many other Constitutions around the world. In other words, the BoR were an addition to and not a correction of the foundation clauses.

      “Multiracial does not mean all races get automatic citizenship into Zambia.” This does not make sense. “…into Zambia,” from where?

      Clauses 1 and 2 indeed are contradictory. This issue came up even at the time the declaration was made. It has been debated at squares at home and abroad, but as usual our MPs are not beholden to the public. They gloss over issues like the retired Gen. has raised.

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  12. Why 10 and not 9 or 11 reasons? This smells of artificiality… like the 100 day Iraq war … 100 day genocide? Mr General 🙂 this is what the Zambian public wanted be it a little deducted. Sorry sir, you are wrong on this one. The president alone can not and aught not to be allowed to cherry-pick. You are giving him that option here.

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  13. General Miyanda should be commended for bringing out very cardinal issues pertaining to the to be signed constitution. For sure, most of the issues raised, if not all, needs another thought. Can we have an explanation to the people who were putting this document together?. CSOs what is your say to this? Are you sure you never read this document and identify such pertinent issues. What a shame to Zambia. We even have so called constitutional lawyers. Rubbish.

    ECL, just sign, we are a useless nation with educated people who don’t ready and analyse.,
    We will fight when time comes. Or do lawyers deliberately kept quite so that they have more money in their pockets presiding over a controversial constitution. So bazungu batuseka Chabe.

    Sad

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  14. Chachine what Christian state accepts moslems and africanists? Just leave this crazy declaration out. People should be free to follow whatever religion they want. It’s not only foreign religions that should rule

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  15. Ecl is still on record of telling you noise makers to study the constitution long before it got presented to parley. What we heard was people merely telling pf to give zambians a new constitution without understanding it’s contents. My only take on this one is ecl should just assent to the bill or throw everything back to the referendum next year after all it gives him high chances of winning by simple majority.

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  16. Here we go again, going around circles after blowing millions of dollars over this issue, ECL, just sign the damned thing, we are very exhausted with all the talks from some of these folks!! With due respect, any amendments let them come in later please, Mr Village Concept.

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  17. Gen Miyanda my president.I wish we had him as president , well thought paper.The man is very patrotic about Zambia.These ar the people we need to rule our beloved country and not the sangwapo fr panga family.EL pls for once remember that you must protect the interest of the nation and not yours.HP will vote for you

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  18. Due to lack of knowledge by many of us Zambians Miyanda has not been voted in as president.Many have labeled him a loner but the man is full of intergrity and honour.I love Brig Gen Miyanda!

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  19. LISTENING PRESIDENT ALREADY TOOK NOTE OF GEN. MIYANDA’S CONCERNS NO WONDER HE HAS DIFFERED THE SIGNING CONGRATS ON THAT MR PRESIDENT INVITE THE MAN , THE SPEAKER, CHIEF JUSTICE.ATTORNEY GENERAL,LAZ, GC, ANY OPPOSITION WHO IS WILLING TO BE PART OF THAT MEETING SIR. MAY GOD GRANT YOU WISDOM TO LEAD ZAMBIA

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  20. i think this was to be done during the various constitutional review fora. right now the president has the duty to sign.

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  21. Well, we need to be careful when it comes to dua citizenship.I think Arabs & all mulisms should not be allowed otherwise our security will be in danger.We need to invest in national security.We don’t need corrupt chaps in govt otherwise Zambia will be history. Terrorists should not be allowed in Zambia.Maybe let us only allow Zambians to have dua citizenship.If u’re not a Zambian then forget about being a Zambian citizen.

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  22. The points raised by the General are are valid and insightful. However, ECL must go ahead and sign the the damn thing called the constitution! The point is that as valid as Miyanda’s views may be, these are issues that can be handled through amendments later.

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  23. I see sense in what the general is saying. lets not ignore what has said. General, i salute you for bringing out cardinal issues pertaining signing the constitutional.. as concern Zambians we have to sit down and reflect on the clauses Miyanda has brought on light, we should not have a life of regrets, if we are playing we gone lose our beloved country Zambia.

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