The Oasis Forum is deeply concerned and saddened at the recent spate of verbal and political attacks against Ms. Linda Kasonde, in her capacity as President of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ). We also find it to be in bad taste the attempts by some people to demonise and try to isolate LAZ, especially its President, Linda Kasonde, who carries the full mandate of officially and validly speaking on behalf of LAZ and usually after wide consultation and deliberation by the various members of the said Association. To vilify her in her individual capacity is therefore grossly unprofessional, unfair, immoral and highly unchristian.
As members of the Oasis Forum and its constituent members, we stand solidly with and wholeheartedly support the statement issued by LAZ on 30th November 2016 on the nullification of parliamentary seats and the recent attacks on the judiciary. The Oasis Forum further supports the position taken by Ms. Kasonde on behalf of LAZ as the position that has been arrived at through dialogue and consensus within LAZ, but more importantly on behalf the voiceless citizens of Zambia calling for the protection of and promotion of the tenets of constitutionalism, separation of powers and the Rule of Law in our beloved country.
We wish to state that LAZ’s views are in concert with and echo those of the Oasis Forum. We therefore wish to strongly condemn those who are insinuating that LAZ is biased. We are aware that in this highly polarised and politicised environment, where even facts and the truth have become rare, there will be many interpretations of innocent professional opinions and voices. Our advice would be that those who feel strongly that LAZ has become partisan should seriously rethink their stands.
We as the Oasis Forum are satisfied that LAZ, as a statutory professional body, is discharging its roles as required by law. We are, therefore alarmed, that attacks on LAZ seem to come from sections of society that are more partisan and less knowledgeable about the [legal] issues at hand. We pray that although all Zambians enjoy freedoms of speech to comment and express opinions on any and all issues, more weight will be given to opinions of professional and technical institutions over those of individuals with partisan agendas. This can only come about if there is discipline in our country.
We note with concern the indiscipline that is creeping in our governance systems where the boundaries between the government and the party in government, has become blurred, as if Zambia has reverted back to the one-party state. Often, the power and authority of government is seen to be exercised and ceded to political party functionaries. As free men and women and citizens of this great country, we should reject the rule by threats, intimidation and violence that have become the order of the day. Threats, intimidation and violence are merely intended to instill fear in all of us and rob us our dearly won freedoms.
The Oasis Forum therefore strongly condemns the continued personal attacks on Ms. Kasonde and calls upon all well-meaning Zambians to continue to support her and LAZ in general for the just cause for which the Association is fighting for the greater good of all Zambians. We encourage LAZ to continue to be vigilant and to keep in check excesses of the governors and to ensure that good governance and constitutionalism are upheld and that lapses are quickly detected and exposed for the good of all of us. Let all of us as citizens renew our collective vision of a better Zambia anchored in law and order in peace and unity. Let us not permit partisan interests to override our national character.
Fr. Cleophas Lungu
CHAIRPERSON – OASIS FORUM
Issued On 1st December, 2016 in Lusaka on behalf of Convenors:
1. Rev. Suzanne Matale – General Secretary (CCZ)
2. Ms. Linda Kasonde – President (LAZ)
3. Ms. Sarah Longwe – Board Chairperson (NGOCC)
4. Fr. Cleophas Lungu – Secretary General (ZCCB)