Implication of Keith Mukata’s Murder Charge on his Chilanga Parliamentary Seat

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FODEP Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi
McDonald Chipenzi

By McDonald Chipenzi, Electoral Expert.

It is a known fact that the murder charge slapped on Keith Mukata is one of the three remaining crimes that are non-bailable in Zambia after treason and aggravated robbery.

Whether incidentally, coincidentally or intentionally, all these cases have been slapped on and affected three prominent opposition leaders in Zambia namely Obvious Mwaliteta (Aggravated Robbery), Hakainde Hichilema (Treason) and more recently Keith Mukata (Murder). The last time such cases where heard of and slapped on politicians where during Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and Dr. Fredrick Chiluba’s reigns two decades ago.

I will not delve into the details and circumstances of how each one of them got into the situation in which they are today but suffice to say that it is strange to see the speedy at which such tools of oppression of opposition leaders in most cases are resurfacing in this country. It seems we had move on and away from such under Levy Mwanawasa and to some extent Rupiah Banda as most predominant cases and victims were corruption and corrupt people respectively. These frequented and crowded the now renamed Correctional Facilities Centres across the country.

However my interest today is the implication of Hon Mukata’s predicament and its implication on his Chilanga Seat. Being charged with a nonbailable offence means he is going to spend much of his time in and at the Correctional Facility Centre as long as the case is undischarged by the courts. If it will take a year or more, he will have to be there till that period especially taking into account the slow justice system in this country.

The constitution of 1996 was comprehensive in guiding the nation on the course of action to be taken when an elected MP is found in such a quagmire situation. It stated that such a member of parliament vacated office once his freedom of movement was restricted for six months and more.

Under Article 71 (g) of the 1996 constitution it states “if, under the authority of any such law as is referred…
i) his freedom of movement has been restricted or he has been detained for a continuous period exceeding six months;
ii) his freedom of movement has been restricted and he has immediately thereafter been detained and the total period of restriction and detention together exceeds six months;
iii) he has been detained and immediately thereafter his freedom of movement has been restricted and the total period of detention and restriction together exceeds six months.”

The amended constitution 2016 seems not to have taken care of Hon Mukata’s predicament and assumes that Hon Mukata remains MP till his term ends whether restricted in his movement, convicted, sentenced or not. The constitution under Article 70 through to 72 of 2016 does not mention anything to do with an elected MP’s freedom of movement restriction as a basis to vacate office or lose one’s seat. It only deals with death, resignation, expulsion, disqualification by the Constitutional Court and loss of citizenship as parameters for one to lose a parliamentary seat. This is where this constitution becomes problematic to implement.

The electoral process Act No. 35 of 2016 is also silent on an elected member who is restricted or unable to do his job for a period of six months. I am not sure whether the National Assembly rules would come in to salvage the situation should it be out of hand using the existing laws.

Nonetheless, the case of Keith Mukata has already exposed and added to many observable weaknesses in the current constitution. This constitutional oversight may create a representation crisis in Chilanga constituency as Keith Mukata may continue to be an absentee elected representative of the people of Chilanga regardless of the final decision of the courts on his case. This will leave the people of Chilanga without an effective representation. This is the beginning of electoral problems in Chilanga and in other areas that may be in the similar situation in future if this constitution lacuna in this constitution of 2016, hastily assented to by the President on January 5 2016 for political expedience, is not addressed.

With the current constitutional provision and quagmire, the people of Chilanga will be at Keith Mukata’s mercy and discretion to either resign his seat should he feel unable to discharge his duties as Chilanga MP due to the situation in which he is so as to facilitate the holding of by-election to elect an able person represent the people in the National Assembly or become selfish and legally so to continue enjoying his parliamentary privileges until 2021.

The ball now is in Keith Mukata’s hands and his benevolence will be required at some point during his journey to regain his freedom after the charge of a non-bailable crime of murder.

The people of Chilanga will remain in limbo, caused by the the constitutional inadequacies, for years to come if not until 2021.

39 COMMENTS

  1. +16
    -1
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    ….elo Keith’s story has so many versions. What is clear though, is that almost everybody is saddened at how such a bright young man can so carelessly give up his own freedom.

    • +3
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      . HH’s insulting has no evidence. Dogs, MotherFucckers, Asshooles. But Kaiser’s videos of dogs are still on YouTube. And that was during a murder drama on a cadre in Chongwe.
      . Mwaliteta I really don’t care.
      . Keith Mutaka is a strategy, why didn’t he surrender gun back to PF when he left? Why are these PF moving around with guns, including ka Masumba? Sata declared 7 guns.
      Let those Christian hypocrites voluntarily surrender their weapons in Parliament in solidarity to Mutaka.

    • +10
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      This guys speaks alot of trash. In his introduction he sounds like government is responsible for these three who are charged unbailable offenses, NONSENSE!
      What stance did he take when bill of rights was suppose to be passsed, what was his stance on the new constitution during amendment process?
      His behavior mirrors that of HH, always pointing figures at others forgetting that the other four fingers are pointing at him.
      This shows how this kiosk type of NGO are getting free donor money as they cheaply politic

    • +1
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      vote

      “Stand Up for Zambia”. Chanda Chimba was wrongly convicted. I say so because his message about brutality during PF reign is real. Michael Sata surrounded himself with failed lawyers, Kaponyas, Jerabos and other misfits of our society. Violence and suppression of people’s fundamental rights to assembly is the order of the day. Some of the people who wanted to succeed him are; Kambwili, GBM and Winter. With either of these guys at the helm of our nation, the results would have been the same as happening today. They were birds of the same feathers.

  2. +6
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    Decisions have conquenses. They should not be based on emotions. He shold not have shot a person or try to defeat ends of Justice, period.

  3. +12
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    Chipenzi has brought out a number of issues. I take up the silent ones that he has not mentioned but obvious to any intelligent Zambian.
    1. Is it correct to call this politically biased man an electoral export? Such a title goes with absolute absence of bias and tribal sentiments. How does the incarceration of Obvious Mwaliteta, Keith Mukata and one other politician become “tools of political oppression”? How many such suspects are in the correctional facilities? Are politicians especially those from the opposition or from certain areas above the law because they are politicians? Chipenzi fails to quote the relevant part of the constitution which provides immunity from murder etc for UPND leaders or perhaps he thinks its one of the defects of the amended constitution? Where was he when…

    • +6
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      You have expressed my observation particularly well.
      I too wondered about how detention of the named persons has suddenly rendered incarceration tools of oppression. Is the gentleman thinking?

  4. +9
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    ……..Where was he when we needed experts to contrinute to the constitutional process? Chipenzi fails to explain the propensity by this group of opposition leaders to commit crimes. Look closer to home, Sinkamba advocates legalisation of marijuana but he is not incarcerated because he respects the law by not using it until it becomes law. The three leaders in question went about doing things that normal human leaders do not do as they are expected to lead society by example. Even.the high commissioner of a foreign capital sees these things disapprovingly but a Zambian so called “electoral expert” chooses to turn a blind eye. Donkeys shall never cease to amaze when they masquerade as human beings!

    • +7
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      The main point raised by Chipenzi is the lapses of the new constitution. @Terrible, there is no need to always twist every issue towards your favourate subject so that you can insult others. You must belong to the Devil since you feel good to insult always. I’ll pray for you.

    • +4
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      You couldn’t have said it better, Terrible, SPOT ON!! I equally refuse to accept this donkey as an electoral expert when he publicly announced that he wants to stand on a upnd ticket. This is the same man who went agaonst the FODEP board and issued a statement about the elections and was later disowned by the same and reprimanded-WHERE IS YOUR CREDIBILITY, MACDONALD??????????

  5. +4
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    Lawyers in Zambia rarely? “go in”. The only one who comes to my mind was that guy who insulted the judiciary. Can’t see Mukata going in, I can bet my only small property. Not that I support what he’s alleged to have done, but ours is a corrupt system,rotten to the core. Add to the fact that Keith is an ally of the ruling class, there’s absolutely no way he can go in. I’m sure he doesn’t even spend some nights in his cell.

  6. vote

    Lawyers in Zambia rarely? “go in”. The only one who comes to my mind was that guy who insulted the judiciary. Can’t see Mukata going in, I can bet my only small property. Not that I support what he’s alleged to have done, but ours is a corrupt system,rotten to the core. Add to the fact that Keith is an ally of the ruling class, there’s absolutely no way he can go in. I’m sure he doesn’t even spend some nights in his cell.

  7. +2
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    @6 and 7 lawyers are often above board but you missed the one who killed his spouse

  8. +1
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    Chipenzi has brought out real issues. Of course his usual biasness will never leave him. There was no need to insuniate that when a politician is charged with nonbailable it is political.

  9. +4
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    Putting side by side HH and others is wrong. HH is a different national icon. As leader of opposition, HH is shadow president of Zambia. HH will answer cases one by one and get out of jail without much hassle. As for Keith, the murder charge is not easy to talk about. It is for the courts to apply laws relating to killing humans, intentionally or otherwise. Either way, there can be no predicament about a vacancy in Chilanga Constituency. Elections will be held to fill the vacant seat.

    • +2
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      You, sir, are telling lies!! Please quote the Law in Zambia which says the leader of the opposition is a shadow president??? NO ONE IS ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION, so how does hh get out of jail without much hassle if he is facing criminal charges?? So does that mean even Felix Mutati or Edith Nawakwi can break the law with impunity since they are opposition leaders?? The Republican Constitution gives immunity to sitting presidents who are declared winners of elections, it doesn’t give any power to opposition leaders as these leaders have to convince the majority electorate-SOMETHING hh HAS FAILED SPECTACULARLY FIVE TIMES!! Meaning he is a normal citizen like you and me.

    • +2
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      Mutual understanding is voluntary, without using force. My own view is that the HH is comparable to other political party leaders. I will not mention any names. It is also factually correct to label the HH as leader of the opposition block. This is by virtue of HH being leader of the biggest opposition political party in the country in terms of representation in parliament. Quoting from the constitution is not the answer. The answer is to apply the writings of the constitution. In Zambia, the vacant seat must be filled. The vacancy arises due to a variety of reasons. These include absenteeism and death. Absenteeism for its part can be due to personal choice, illness or serving a jail sentence longer than the stipulated period of absence (3 months?). I will maintain that the two cases are…

    • +2
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      In Zambia, the vacant seat must be filled. The vacancy arises due to a variety of reasons. These include absenteeism and death. Absenteeism for its part can be due to personal choice, illness or serving a jail sentence longer than the stipulated period of absence (3 months?). I will maintain that the two cases are different from each other.

  10. +2
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    Keith Mukata’s situation is not very different from that of former Mufumbwe MP Stephen Masumba.Masumba was convicted and jailed while still serving as MP.As a consequence his constituency suffered in terms of representation and other benefits that go along with the office of the MP. Regarding HH and Mwaliteta’s predicament, any intelligent person should know those cases are going nowhere. Those people are just being tortured

    • +2
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      Civil cases are different from criminal cases. The forged certificate cases can not be compared to homicide cases in terms of gravity. Take human life as the highest unit of measure and you will understand the outcry. However, different countries can always consider homicide as bailable, depending on circumstances.

  11. +3
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    You lumpens always have to argue even when there is no need to. The fact is Chipenzi brings out a valid issue about the constitution being silent on this issue. Let b us discuss that issue and not whether Chipenzi is a chimpanzee or not. This constitution was hurried in many instances for political expediency and that is why LAZ was saying slow down.

    • +3
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      Where was he when the constitution was being drafted? That’s the problem with us Zambians we read when we are in trouble or want to cause trouble but fail to do so when we want to learn and progress. This is pure retrogressive. So what do you want to police to do about your constitutional hiccups? Release Keith and not charge him for murder because there will be a gap in Chilanga?

  12. +4
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    Chipenzi nevers fails to amaze me. He is so blind not to tell wrong and right. Keith has messed it and its not about political gain mukwabo,DONKEY!

  13. +4
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    Where were you when your fellow upnd were busy pushing and mocking zambians that Lungu would not sign the same constitution because he was scared of the 50 +1,you were all thinking he wouldn t do it. He beat you guys at your game. So sober up!

  14. +3
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    ”it is strange to see the speedy at which such tools of oppression of opposition leaders in most cases are resurfacing in this country”-chipenzi. Some one got killed and Mukata was implicated, and all this loser can think of is ‘oppression’!! No wonder TERRIBLE calls you donkeys

  15. +1
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    vote

    To call Chipenzi a donkey is wrong… He is a good family man just as ECL is a good man. Let us be sober as we discuss Chilanga parliamentary seat in view of Keith issues. Better express your view than attack individuals.
    Normally, the people who fail to discuss issues attack other people’s personality..
    Mr Terrible, I know you are mature enough to tell your views on chilanga seat…. I personally forgive you for calling someone made in the GOD’s image a donkey…. I know you can not insult… It is simply a small error you have done and you can be above this…. I know you can and you are a good family man.. Mr Terrible , I love you and please use kind words… read Proverbs 15:1

  16. +1
    -1
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    Chipenzi has made a lot of valid points. we should have been allowed to continue with the 1996 constitution. It had more clarity than the Lungu constitution. So now Mukata will be MP in jail. Sorry people of chilanga

  17. vote

    I am now convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that the majority of bloggers on Zambian Social media are myopic and do not see things beyond UPND or PF. All subjects attract the same UPND/PF characterisation. Sadly this does not end on social media alone – It is on everything where people are allowed to express there views. SHAME. Please sometimes try to think outside of the UPND or PF boxes you have placed yourselves into – or leave such to the Kambas, Mumbi Phiris and there counterparts in UPND. We need intellectually challenging discourse here!

  18. +1
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    vote

    Our learned friends from the world of the elite came up with our constitution and they were busy concentrating on 50 + 1 and paid no attention to other issues and now they are pointing fingers at each other trying to find out who is to blame when they all are.

  19. 0
    -1
    vote

    Rombwale thanks for your maturity please keep it up too much insults on pf guys

  20. vote

    “Do not sign a Constitution with your eyes closed” Brigadier General Miyanda

  21. vote

    I agree with you mr dsappointed Zambian…. we are shallow and unanalytical in discussing issues…May we up the game…. The issue of tribalism is the mainstay for many blogger…. sad ..

  22. vote

    As long as these Devils(PF) are stil on top of every thing deveropment will never be there but killing,arresting inocent people & they have alread started getting sick & we know them & death is coming upon them.

  23. vote

    Chipenzi,
    You were fired by Fred Mmembe for being a UPND cadre while pretending to be an impartial journalist. When did you become an electoral expart?

  24. vote

    The law is always there, failure of current enacted being silent allows last previous law which dealt with the situation to apply, which could be 1996 if your presentation is correct.

  25. vote

    This sentence isn’t correct: It is a known fact that the murder charge slapped on Keith Mukata is one of the three remaining crimes that are non-bailable in Zambia after treason and aggravated robbery.
    Unbailable Crimes in Zambia are: Treason, Murder, Armed Robbery, and aggravated robbery

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