By Brig Gen Godfrey Miyanda
Your Excellency President-Elect, following your much publicised announcement that you are consulting your lawyers before you make a government statement on Monday 5th September 2016, I have decided to urgently publish this statement for your consideration. I am preparing an analysis of the Friday happenings and will issue that separately as this statement is rather urgent. The Constitutional Court’s decision to continue with the petition has been described by some as illegal and by others as unfortunate, compromised, coerced, etc. This may be true or may be true. What matters is what step you, Mr President-Elect, decide to take.
I previously wrote to you privately twice concerning the Constitution that you were about to Assent to. Even though you never responded to me directly, at least you disclosed publicly that you had received a petition from me. You elected to assent and did assent, which was your right and was within your discretionary powers. I am making another attempt to reach your heart and mind as I am very concerned about the situation confronting us and sense that this may have serious unpredictable security challenges and implications.
My statement has become rather urgent because of the scheduled date of hearing by the Constitutional Court on Monday 5th September 2016. I plead with you personally to make a decision that you will live with and not be saying later that this is what my lawyers advised me. The immediate situation, according to my opinion, is no longer a constitutional or legal one; but I also do not even believe that this calls for a state of emergency, since you have hinted that you will be making a “Government statement”!
I know personally most of the prominent lawyers in this Petition. I have great respect for all of them on both sides of the divide. These are men of great legal knowledge and stature. Some I have faced in my many legal battles. So my suggestion here is NOT meant to belittle your lawyers or cast aspersions on their competence; far from it. In fact I believe some on both sides of the petition would augment the Constitutional Court bench. The advice of your lawyers would probably be the best as regards the way forward. However the political ramifications are quite serious though unpredictable. That is why you should seriously examine the political fallout and long term stability of our young nation, rather than technical escape routes. This scenario invites strong political will and wisdom on your part.
I appeal to you to accept that the Petition goes ahead as scheduled on Monday 5th September 2016. My reasons which I respectfully petition you to take into account include, inter alia:
1. No hearing has taken place hence there is no basis upon which the Constitutional Court can make any final determination of the Petition.
2. If it is correct that the Constitutional Court has no longer any jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the Petition which they themselves have allowed to take place, then we have a very serious constitutional problem which cannot be left hanging in the air, namely that the Petition is still alive as the Petitioners have not withdrawn it.
3. Proceeding with the hearing in the way the Constitutional Court has arranged does NOT prejudice your case in any way:
i. The Petitioners will have two days, as will your side, to present your cases, which includes adducing cogent evidence to support each case.
ii. You are allowed to cross examine the Petitioners’ witnesses just as your side will also be cross examined if you give evidence on oath as a Christian.
Please consider my appeal favourably and thank you in advance.
By the way, your party cadres have reportedly camped at the Court grounds, presumably to prevent the hearing tomorrow. I believe the reports because I heard your Party Secretary General speaking during today’s lunchtime news, defending the cadre’s democratic right. What a contradiction. Now how is it possible that today it is a democratic right for your cadres to loiter around the Court grounds when the court is not even in session? Who has authorised aand encouraged them to loiter there? They are committing offences under the Penal Code.
If other cadres from other parties go and camp there what will be the outcome – another death? This is not only indiscipline but it raises serious questions about your control of the PF party and the selective use of the security services under your charge. Need I remind you of the James Skinner case which I believe you are aware of? Please refrain from the game of brinkmanship which has so far happened under your watch. You are not obliged to agree with me but make a decision you can live with. Please be careful of political praise singers. They always play the game of “Now you see them, now you don’t”!
Finally I believe that you, as a Christian, want the truth of what transpired during the last elections to be established so that our efforts at uniting the nation will be made easier. Please sir, I urge you to let the Petition continue and for you to stand up in Court, boldly and truthfully to give your rebuttal evidence.
May God richly bless you and guide you at this trying time.
FORMER REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENT,
& LIFE MEMBER,
COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION,
[4TH SEPTEMBER 2016]