The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) opposition inclined leadership has once again shown that it will clutch at every straw to openly show contempt towards President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and anyone deemed to be close to him.
This is one sad clear pattern we have noticed ever since President Lungu convincingly won the heavily contested August 11 polls were the man they overtly support Mr Hakainde Hichilema of UPND tumbled for what appeared like the umpteenth time. We feel the pain of LAZ, especially that of its greenhorn leader Ms Linda Kasonde.
We understand LAZ’s shared contempt and bitterness with Mr Hichilema and the UPND after the devastating loss as they continue to lick their wounds but there is something we do not want to allow to continue.
We do not want LAZ and UPND to continue misleading the nation that there is a neutral call for justice and accountability, of President Lungu and those that work for him such as Mr Amos Chanda, his spokesman.
It is unfair for LAZ and UPND to intimate that President Lungu is directly or remotely interfering with the judiciary in Zambia when history is replete with numerous incidents of President Lungu, a friend of the bench abiding with the law even when he could have arm-twisted matters ex officio.
Below are some explicit examples that demonstrate President Lungu’s respect for the law of the land.
• When President Michael Chilufya Sata died on 28th October 2014 (MHSRIP), a scheme by those close to LAZ was hatched to grab power from acting President Lungu. Instead of fighting the hostile take-over and create two centres of power, President Lungu gave up power in order to maintain law and order
• At party level when the party was divided on the mode of adopting a candidate to replace President Sata as the PF leader with the majority wanting President Lungu to take over, the Head of State still chose the hard route of going to a national convention that needed to be attended by no less than 4000 delegates from all ten provinces of Zambia
• When he did not need to after his first popular election of January 2015, President Lungu went ahead and signed a constitution that did not favour him by including the much-dreaded 50 percent plus one vote, albeit through his immense popularity, defied critics and beat the LAZ and Mast (formerly The Post) supported Hichilema hands down again.
• After he won the popular vote with an extra 100,000 votes to spare and got declared winner by the influential Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on 15th August 2016, President Lungu did not assume office despite direct and indirect intimations for him to assume office. This was in the back drop of receiving an unprecedented flow of international endorsements emanating from Washington, Beijing, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace and the local church to mention but a few that felt the election was fairly won by President Lungu.
• President Lungu waited until the day the Constitution Court returned with a decision that echoed that of the ECZ chief Judge Esau Chulu. Only then did he agree to be sworn in as Sixth President of Zambia on 13th September 2016.
All this time, Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Mwamba had refused to accept the legally declared results, casting aspersions on the Judge Chulu led ECZ and the entire international community.
President Lungu sucked it all in and now barely one hundred days after he assumed office, his Spokesman says the judiciary is not above reproach just like everyone else in Zambia, including President Lungu who was taken to the Concourt, the UPND backed LAZ flags are flying relentlessly, airing the LAZ presser live on their page and baying for Mr Chanda’s blood, whom by extension they associate with President Lungu and we feel it is not fair.
What is fair in our view is that Ms Kasonde, UPND and the questionable Mast must come out in the open and state that they are one political front bent on one thing—the opposition of President Lungu.
We have said in the past that we wonder “where Ms Kasonde was the day they taught law in law school” given her open lack of depth and impartiality in dealing with issues and we are going to say it again.
Except this time we are going to add regarding Ms Kasonde that, “there is nothing more dangerous in a game of political chess than a pawn that thinks it’s a Queen.”
Ms Kasonde, Mr Hichilema, UPND and The Mast, collectively and or individually, please wake up and smell the coffee—President Lungu is the President of Zambia, legally elected, legally, sworn in and legally in State House. You have another five bitter years to wait.
Where was Ms Kasonde and LAZ when Mr. Hichilema attacked Judges Anne Sitali, Pallan Mulonda and Mungeni Mulenga whom he likened to the biblical Judas Iscariot who betrayed a cause for pieces of silver? Where was LAZ when the UPND leader insulted the Judiciary with such impunity that every reasonable Zambian thought he would be cited for contempt of Court! Zambians recall that on 10th September 2016, UPND leader Mr. Hichilema charged that constitutional court judges were paid huge amounts of money to deliberately lapse the UPND petition to nullify the re-election of President Edgar Lungu in the 11th August general elections. Why did LAZ keep quite unless they clapped and nodded in approval of Mr. Hichilema’s lies and insults targeted at the Judiciary! On the date, Mr. Hichilema described the Constitutional Court judges as thugs and criminals who, according to him, had raped the Constitution and were therefore not worth the gowns they wore as they lacked integrity and impartiality. Where were Ms. Linda Kasonde and her LAZ to condemn these insults and label them as contemptuous?!
This is the hypocrisy we must question and LAZ must come out clean. LAZ especially under Ms Kasonde is not above public criticism over its conduct.
Lastly, we challenge LAZ to tell Zambians why Ms. Kasonde’s Press Conference was being streamed Live on Mr. Hakainde Hichilema’s Facebook Page. Could it be that Mr. Hichilema was privy to Ms. Kasonde’s statement? Could it be that LAZ is in liaison with the UPND?
MR. SUNDAY CHILUFYA CHANDA
PF MEDIA COMMITTEE MEMBER