OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU – MY DEMAND FOR JUSTICE!
[Brig Gen Godfrey Miyanda – 20th May 2016]
On or about 24th January 2015 President Edgar Lungu took the Oath of President on the Bible to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution. For this reason I revert to him, as the Fountain of Justice, to demand justice in the Constitutional Court. Lest I be misunderstood I am NOT asking the President to interfere with or to give the Honourable Judges of the Constitutional Court directives concerning their work – Oh no, no, no! I believe that they are professionals and can execute their sworn duties if left alone to do that. I am referring to the inertia of the Government and the President’s failure to ensure that the Constitutional Court is actually operationalized.
On 11th April 2016 I filed a petition in the Constitutional Court and served it on the Attorney General, who is the Government’s principle legal advisor. On 11th May 2016 the Vice President declared in the National Assembly that the Referendum will go ahead as scheduled on 11th August 2016. On 13th May 2016 the President also declared that the Referendum will go ahead as scheduled. On 17th May 2016 ZNBC news reported that the Electoral Commission of Zambia had NOT yet formulated the question for the Referendum yet the President made the decision to hold the combined Referendum last year in 2015!
I rarely discuss cases that are before the courts but I am now concerned about the Government ignoring the Petition to which they are a party; the President and his Vice must surely know or ought to know of the petition that is before the Constitutional. I am compelled to conclude that Government is intimidating and warning the Judges whom he appointed to rule in their favour. I demand justice. I have tried as a law abiding citizen to use avenues available to raise my concerns. On 1st December 2015 I petitioned the National Assembly, following a lapse in the 2nd Reading stages of N.A.B. 16 and N.A.B. 17 of 2016; I got no response. On 16th December 2015 I petitioned the President directly, essentially urging him to use the discretionary power for assent to carefully and diligently scrutinize the two Acts that were to be conveyed to him from the National Assembly as I had noted a number of provisions that required the President’s further scrutiny. Again I got no response from the President.
On 13th May 2016 I filed a Certificate of Urgency and I have been waiting patiently but nothing has moved. My petition is raising serious constitutional matters and must be heard in a timely manner. Some highlights of issues in my Petition include:
a. Challenging the holding of the scheduled Referendum alongside the General Elections on 11th August 2016, which is inconsistent with the Constitution and the Referendum Act CAP 14 as amended.
b. Challenging the lie in the amended Constitution that “We the people of Zambia had adopted the said Constitution” when not so!
c. Some parts of Part Three of the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) have ALREADY been amended without holding a Referendum, which is a breach of Article 79 (3).
d. Changing the character of the Zambian nation and state of Zambia without the sanction of the people of Zambia via a Referendum.
e. Placing a fetter on access to media via an amendment that has added a superfluous and restrictive phrase.
f. Granting an unfettered power to the President to alienate ALL land in Zambia as he pleases, when he has no jurisdiction over traditional land. Etc, etc, etc.
On 5th January 2016 the President assented to the two Acts with great fanfare and at great public cost without any amendment. This was the beginning of the journey to the destination called “Standing the Test of Time”. But since 5th January 2016 the time has not stood still except for my cry for justice which has stood still from 11th April 2016 when I filed my Petition.
There is no justification for this unconscionable delay to operationalize the Constitutional Court, from the date of Assent over four months ago; I smell a rat. The judges are there; the court rooms can be found as was done for the Chikopa scandal and the Mutembo Nchito tribunal. Today the President has declared at the Heroes Stadium that the Referendum will go ahead on 11th August 2016 and advised his PF cadres to vote yes for the Referendum question. I demand justice by way of operationalizing the Constitutional Court forthwith and refraining from pre-empting the judgement of the Constitutional Court.
PETITIONER – IN – PERSON
[21ST MAY 2016]