Law Association of Zambia President Linda Kasonde has defended the Association’s perceived strong anti-government stance saying the Association is not being controlled by anyone.
And Ms. Kasonde has wondered why Kasama Member of Parliament Kelvin Sampa, a non-lawyer is interested in the affairs of the association by even sponsoring a private member motion to Parliament to dissolve LAZ.
Speaking Thursday morning when she featured on Hot FM’s Hot Seat radio programme, Ms. Kasonde said she has no political ambitions adding that she does not even have any relationship with opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.
“There is a very strong perception out there that LAZ is cartel and that LAZ is anti-government but that perception has been largely created by misinformation by putting bits of information together that is not entirely true,” she said.
Ms Kasonde said, “The other day, somebody told me I used to work for HH, it was shocking because I have never worked for H.H. I don’t have any relationship with HH whatsoever. Personally I don’t have any political agenda. My role as leader of the association is to follow the mandate under Section 4 to protect the rule of law, constitutionalism, social justice and good governance, that is all we are trying to do.”
She added, “I don’t have political ambitions. I just love my country as any good citizen should do.
Ms. Kasonde also revealed that LAZ will soon meet to consult its members over the move by Mr Sampa to take a Private Members Bill to Parliament aimed at dissolving LAZ.
“When I first saw it (Bill), i think my first reaction was to wonder as to what the interest of a non-Lawyer is in the affairs of the Law Association. Obviously, we are not perfect as an Association because nobody is but if there are any reforms to take place in the association, I believe those reforms should take place within the association and the association will be consulting its members over these issues in the coming weeks,” Ms. Kasonde said.
Asked on whether she feels some LAZ members including President Edgar Lungu are secretly sponsoring the Bill, Ms. Kasonde said she could not speculate.
“I can’t speculate on whether some LAZ members including President Lungu are supporting the bill but what I can say is that Lawyers are members of society and therefore hold divergent views.”
She continued, “As LAZ, we think that we are just doing our job, unfortunately that is not perceived as such. When Jesus was on earth, he had one mission and that was to save humanity from sin, a very simple and noble cause and he did so by telling the truth, unfortunately as a result he was insulted, forsaken and even killed for expressing those views. Unfortunately telling the truth in many societies is seen as a rebellious act, so unfortunately, we seem to have become a victim of that.”
Ms. Kasonde said LAZ is working according to the law as it understands it.
“There is old English saying that nobody kicks a dead dog, I think our leadership is very strong so strong that when we choose not to speak, people start weaving placards and chanting saying why aren’t you speaking, so strong that a non-lawyer has seen it fit to challenge the existence of the association, so I don’t think this is a sign of weak leadership, infact, it’s a sign of strength,” she said.
“We live in a democracy where there is freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, in a democracy, ideally, divergent views should be able to co-exist side by side, like someone put it, when a snake enters the hut, you don’t burn down the hut to get rid of the snake.”
She also stated that the decisions in the association are collectively made by the Council.
“I have in the Council since 2013 and even beyond that to my knowledge LAZ has always chosen when to comment, we comment on law and constitutional issues, good governance, rule of law issues, social justice issues and we do so as a Council, it’s not anyone one individual, we have 16 member Council made up of men and women and we sit and deliberate on these issues and we also consult members on these issues, it’s not fair to say that we are unnecessarily selective and in any case, if we choose to talk about every issue, we would be issuing statements every day because there are many issues that happen in society.”
She continued, “No one individual controls the association, the association is governed by a Council who are made of people with different opinions and beliefs.”