Former Attorney General Musa Mwenye
Former Attorney General Musa Mwenye

Lately, there have been some suggestions made by some sections of our society including some parliamentarians, that we should do away with our democracy and replace it with something else.

The alternative to a democracy is obviously a dictatorship.

The argument is that in a democracy, we spend too much time on politics instead of development. In essence, the proponents of this point of view argue that a dictatorship should be imposed so that we should stop criticising Government to allow for development.

These arguments are clearly flawed. Firstly, people who are corrupt, incompetent or incapable in a democracy will undoubtedly be corrupt, incapable or incompetent in a dictatorship. If a person cannot work and deliver tangible development when he or she is subjected to scrutiny by the people who voted for him or her, how will he or she deliver development when there is no scrutiny by those people who elected him or her. In fact, it is proven that corruption, incompetence and inefficiencies have always become worse in dictatorships in sub Saharan Africa as was seen in Central African Republic, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) or Uganda under Idi Amin.

Secondly, the comparison being made between Zambia and countries like China, is completely misplaced. Some of those countries in East Asia like China, that have had strong leadership akin to dictatorship, apply Confucius principles which are part of their culture and are deeply ingrained in the fabric of their society.

Confucius principles concentrate on duties that leaders owe their country and what those leaders should do to better their country. Here on the other hand, our leaders seem to concentrate on the benefits they can get from being in leadership. It is not uncommon in China for leaders who are members of the ruling communist party to be executed for being convicted of corruption.

In Singapore, even those very close to the people in power are sent to prison for corruption. That is why those countries develop even under strong or dictatorial leadership while dictatorships in this part of Africa only lead to increased poverty of the people while the rulers become shockingly rich.

There is no single dictatorship in this part of Africa that has lead to development and prosperity of the people. We have one or two countries in this region that have had very strong leadership and have developed, but those countries are not dictatorships per se. They hold elections and the leaders have been re-elected based on sound leadership, reduction of poverty and delivery of development to the people.

Zambia is a democracy, full stop. Democracy is the best form of governance system for Zambia and any suggestion of the introduction of a dictatorship is a betrayal of trust.

Failure to deliver development by successive governments has been a result of either the inability, corruption or negligence of those in charge of Government and cannot be blamed on democracy.

Let us work to develop this nation, through the democratic institutions of the state.

The author is State Counsel and Former Attorney General

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53 COMMENTS

  1. There is no way of going back to dictatorship. The people suggesting to go to dictatorship are greed.

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    • There are several forms of dictatorship. For instance Zambia is a de facto one party state, many thanks to the unbridled powers of appointment that are vested in the office of the president. Appointees, due to poverty and lack of moral fibre, are without exception loyal to the appointing authority rather than to the people.

      With this kind of shallow analysis from pseudo-intellectuals such as the author of this piece, it is no wonder that we are going nowhere very fast.

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    • The author just missed it when he said Zambia is a democracy. How can Zambia be a democracy. Are you allowed to assemble as Political parties, obviously the answer is No. just one example

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    • All these democracy nonsense was imposed on us by the imperialists and colonizers…..even borders were imposed on us by colonizers….and now we hate each so much and kill each because of borders and ethnic differences….before she all these silly democracy we used to live in peace and harmony with each other

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    • Edgar has beaten Zambians into POLITICAL SUBMISSION to his dictatorial rule!
      Zambian docility has allowed all this to happen. Surprisingly He has even cunningly beaten all his predecessors to the political game: Humbled the mighty M’membe who KK, FTJ, LPM, RBB & MCS failed to discipline; makes FTJ & RBB corruption a child’s play; KK & FTJ political engineering become embarrassing relics!
      Don’t blame Edgar. Selfish individuals forced him on Zambians against all indications of his leadership ineptness & HE has gladly accepted the forced challenge.
      Just prepare your’A’selves for NEXT of LEVEL of MISERY: 2021-2026!

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    • But why can’t we all just get along….coexist…..we dont need stupid democracy……we can live in peace without this nonsense called Democracy

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    • Musa Mwenye is the man who cancelled Lungu’s practicing license after he stole & drunk money from a widow.

      Lungu’s attempt to cleverly turn himself into a humble dictator will miserably fail, with him being jailed.

      Now PF00Ls want to change term of office to 7 years using the evil National Dialogue Bill. Then after 2021, 3rd term limitation will be removed completely & then they’ll start manipulating to increasing term of office to 10 years. Lungu is the worst mistake that has ever happened to Zambia.

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    • Musa Mwenye – You are the most corrupt QC in Zambia. Remember the things you did with Fred Mmembe and Mutembo Nchito when Sata was in Power.

      Sata was brought into power via a democratic process. When he got into State House he became a Dictator who had no respect for the law. He was corrupt, worse than any president of Zambia.

      You were appointed as an Attorney General. Which means that you were the Top Adviser to the government. Yet you kept quiet because money was sweet and became part of the corrupt system when you could have stood up for corruption.

      You guys sat there, protecting Mmembe from paying his overdue taxes, which lead him to the loss of The post. You have no resurrected and started representing Mmembe’s political party. A corrupt criminal who owes Zambia million…

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    • Cont….

      A corrupt criminal who owes Zambia millions in taxes. So, this coming from you is really an insult to Zambians. You a sick corrupt lawyer. You have no respect for democracy.
      By the way, your article is really cheaply written piece of trash. !!

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    • @Ndobo, Musa is talking about your cousin Mmembe and you Lozis. That Socialism and Monarch is bad.
      But I like both, I don’t want to be part of movement for democracy ever again.

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    • What he means is that Zambia is a democracy by formation bu not by practice. He was just short of saying this may be.

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  2. I THINK THIS STORY IS FAKE. NO ONE CAN EVER THINK LIKE THAT. IF ANYTHING SUCH A TOPIC DOES NOT EVEN DESERVE TO BE GIVEN ANY SPACE.

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    • You think…You have no idea how some leaders can go to extremes just to cling on to power. Just look at the people Lazy Lungu looks up to and the ill educated morons he keeps in his circle.
      Mind you this article is not written by ShuShu but a highly learned legal professional.

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    • @Chanda, akulyafye mune, replace all your trousers withe elastic one’s. Your time will come, we will be there with bucket if not drums.

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    • @Sunday Chanda, keeping Movement for Democracy is bad, Lungu should not have taken that theft movement.
      Let me tell you that Barotseland monarchy and Mmembe Socialism is a better alternative, but both methods have weak leaders, weaker than Edgar & HH the mini-dictators.

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  3. Central African Republic and DRC are two different countries!
    Never rush to publish your opinions else you show the whole world your ignorance, sir.

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  4. I think it shouldn’t remain a democracy (on paper) and here is why:
    1. No rule of law.
    2. No guarantee or respect for basic human rights and any minority
    3. No equality in the eyes of the law or the individuals who enforce the law.
    4. No Social, economic, and political pluralism.
    5. No due process of the law is followed especially if one holds a different political opinion
    6. No culture of the value for tolerance, cooperation, and compromise.
    I could go on and on, but truth of the matter is we are only a democracy on paper, the institutions, govt etc all act like Zambia is a perpetual state of emergency (constitutional dictatorship). The democracy we adopted alone doesn’t do justice for this country, there is urgent need to refine it by including traditional bits so that it…

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    • cont’d.
      .. bits so that it suitably is for us otherwise it will always be a foreign concept.

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  5. Is this the calibre of some S.C. in Zambia? I’m sorry, the man is to shallow in thinking.

    Democracy within itself is very diverse.

    Maybe the type of democracy you have in Zambia should be changed.

    Allow people to be democratic within democracy.

    UPND × HH = Hakayinde should change.

    Many people want to vote for UPND but the problem is HH.

    People don’t like HH but they like UPND.
    Remove HH and UPND will rule Zambia.

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    • Why do PF00Ls hate HH?

      I know the real reason: HH is a qualified auditor/accountant who can trace all the money they’ve stolen. It’s fear of being jailed, nothing more.

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    • No one hates Hatribal Hacks!
      When a girl says no 5 times, a gentleman will and should respect that! Even in Soccer and in Management, we have to replace players or managers who have failed to deliver! The absence of intra party democracy in UPND is what has made it so unattractive to most Zambians! You don’t have to be a prophet to read that even if HH was to win through sympathy votes in 2021, they will snatch it away from him. In 2016, he lied that they had a credible PVT but failed to substantiate his claims! Let’s try Someone else!

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    • The PF rats hate HH because they think lungu and PF , having spent $ 17 billion should have an automatic vote , but one simple HH is giving them a run for their money to the point where they are bankrupting the country to win elections

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  6. Mr Former Attorney General, we are already a dictator state and your office created the political environment and gave birth to one – Edigar Chagwa Lungu ‘wa muya ya ya’.

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  7. Poor analysis by the so called intellectuals. There is more corruption now than under Kaunda’s one party participatory democracy.
    Africa needs to see what can move the continent forward. Western democracy is a total failure in Zambia. It is a weapon for western countries to remove progressive African leaders.
    Is Lybia better now than under Gaddafi?
    Already they do not like Kagame and are agitating Rwandans to remove him in the bame od democracy. Yet the truth is he is developing the country and fast reducing his dependence on western countries. It is time we opened our eyes.

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  8. This ASSERTION is greatly condemned by UPND stooges.Their MPs are ones advocating for DICTATOR TENDENCIES if chances given to their Ayatollah to lead this country.
    In this country the big problem is NOT democracy either cases of governance.The problem is economic sustainability,this is when the national is realizing of doing and performing economic roadmap for the national.Economic sustainability and development of Zambia is very poor since independence.

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    • Mr P, allow me to stretch your submission further. The root cause of our waywardness as a country where governance and economic development is that POWER is too centralized and personalized! We are therefore left at the mercy of bad leaders! We urgently need to decentralize power and build strong Institutions! This way we’ll be able to contain the excesses from Lusaka when we embrace a decentralized Federal System!

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  9. If Lungu can die, Zambia would stand a better chance of survival, until then poverty, human rights abuse, corruption will continue to reign.

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    • @Nsimanadele1……..Stop that rubbish of death for any president in zambia. Think of the cost of state funeral for a president. Lets just vote him out like RB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! not death………….

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  10. Anonymous is intellectually challenged and delusional if he thinks traditional societies were havens of peace. Humans are territorial and will defend their territory, regardless how small and will seek to expand their territory with violence if necessary should they see more abundant resources elsewhere. What does he think made the Bantu to migrate from the Congo-Niger delta?
    What about over-population and diminuishing resources as amongst contributing factors?
    Throughout the ages, people progress when they are free.
    Abash dictatorship. Viva democracy.

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    • @Hail to the chief
      Stop mimicking the white man….think of yourself as being superior….just because democracy was introduced by a white man it doesn’t mean its perfect…..think my dear friend and use your own brain(its not illegal yet)……In a black man’s mind….anything introduced by muzungu is perfect….Muzungu tells you its ok for a man to marry a fellow man then you agree….isn’t it part of living in a democratic society?????
      We need modern day Thomas Sankara…..Julius Malema is being groomed

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  11. People will still talk politics whatever government system is in place. Zoon politikon man by nature is a political animal. The only problem is that in Zambia and other fledgling democracies we are trying to outdo the old democracies. The other thing is by nature an African doesn’t want to let go even when it’s time to go. At work people don’t want to retire, in politics people like Chitotela don’t want to step aside while he’s being investigated, in the opposition leaders don’t want to give chance to other people who may stand a better chance at the next election. Everything wamuyaya.

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  12. And that wig. Zambian lawyers should get rid of it. Does not look good. S.A. lawyers do not not wear wigs but still look presentable.

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  13. Regular, free and fair elections, transparency and accountability. These are some of the best practices that guarantee democratic governance. To achieve that, there is need for adherence to the Rule of Law and respect of human rights. Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of conscience, freedom of worship. These constitute the foundation of democracy. Any departure from the sacrosanct principles need t be met with resistance. Peaceful resistance.

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  14. But we are already living in a dictatorship. Our President is not accountable to anyone he does as he pleases, like buying private jets while schools have no desks, Post newspaper was shut for being too critical to Government, Prime TV license was suspended for a month, police officers in Western Province were sacked for doing their job. We have MPs in PF who will vote with the government on every bad policy.

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  15. Democracy as a Political System of Competition for Power
    Democracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office. The people decide who will represent them in parliament, and who will head the government at the national and local levels. They do so by choosing between competing parties in regular, free and fair elections.
    Government is based on the consent of the governed.
    In a democracy, the people are sovereign—they are the highest form of political authority.
    Power flows from the people to the leaders of government, who hold power only temporarily.
    Laws and policies require majority support in parliament, but the rights of minorities are protected in various ways.
    The people are free to…

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  16. Cont.
    The people are free to criticize their elected leaders and representatives, and to observe how they conduct the business of government.
    Elected representatives at the national and local levels should listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions.
    Elected representatives at the national and local levels should listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions.
    Elections have to occur at regular intervals, as prescribed by law. Those in power cannot extend their terms in office without asking for the consent of the people again in an election.
    For elections to be free and fair, they have to be administered by a neutral, fair, and professional body that treats all political parties and candidates equally.
    All parties and candidates must have the…

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  17. Cont….
    All parties and candidates must have the right to campaign freely, to present their proposals to the voters both directly and through the mass media.
    Voters must be able to vote in secret, free of intimidation and violence.
    However we should know that Demcracy is a process that can take time in order fully function
    The big question is whether Zambia is heading in the right direction

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  18. Principled Learned Colleagues full of good sense and wisdom are the greatest assets any country should cherish to have! Thank you Musa!!! I want to urge you and like minded Zambians to come up with a National Movement to restore Democracy (NMD) and sanity in our politics in Zambia 2021 the way we did it in 1991 with MMD! Now is the time for the birth of such a progressive movement! The current opposition can’t get us out of this mess unfortunately! Very few Zambians seem to be aware about the PF scheme to replace our fragile Democracy with the ECL Dictatorship! If there was a time we need to wake up is now and fight for our FREEDOMS! It’s time to refine our democracy and curtail the powers of the office of the president! We need to decentralize power into a Federal State because some…

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  19. We need to decentralize power into a Federal State because some people get easily drunk with power! It’s time to build strong institutions so that even if we end up with a Lawless Lawyer in power, we the institutions are able to take care of them!

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  20. We already see manuverings by lungu to cling on to power ……fear of spending his retairment in courts is forcing lungus hand

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    • So your only obsession is to see Lungu in court? I thought you want to work for the people of Zambia? If your aim is to come and harass those who may become former leaders, then you’re no better than the things you’ve been accusing the PF of. Have a blessed day.

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  21. The man has written his views on democracy in Zambia, so if you are a sansible guy, attack the contents in the article, not the author. Ever heard of debate? Tulo

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  22. Exhausting. Don’t know where to begin! When a man of the law dons his wig and drapes his official attire and presents in an authoritative manner, only to add wood on a bonfire; then one can conclude that anarchy and chaos is at the centre of a govt system. We should respect this man if the judiciary, except for one exquisite flaw he has exhibited here.

    HE IS THE LAW. He should be explaining to us WHY ACC fails to prosecute successfully, corrupte politicians brought before it. Is it not fair to sAy that’s where the ball starts and stops in controlling corruption in office? He is now resplendent on his throne causing anger and worse ‘suggesting,’ there is a move to do away with democracy……where is this discussion taking place, parliament of the beer halls of Zambia?

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  23. Exhausting. Don’t know where to begin! When a man of the law dons his wig and drapes his official attire and presents in an authoritative manner, only to add wood on a bonfire; then one can conclude that anarchy and chaos is at the centre of a govt system. We should respect this man of the judiciary, except for one exquisite flaw he has exhibited here.

    HE IS THE LAW. He should be explaining to us WHY ACC fails to prosecute successfully, corrupte politicians brought before it. Is it not fair to say that’s where the ball starts and stops in controlling corruption in office? He is now resplendent on his throne causing anger and worse ‘suggesting,’ there is a move to do away with democracy……where is this discussion taking place, parliament or the beer halls of Zambia?

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  24. First of all let us separate the issue from the author if we want to make valid argument about democracy and Zambia. This is because jumping into an argument with attacking a person it is the fallacy of attacking a person and doing so it makes one to divert from the basis of argument. So dears Zambians if we want to progressive we have to learn to argue with objectivity. Having said that, I think dictatorship cannot work in Zambia because it can only bring chaos as people are already attuned to democracy and children are taught in school that democracy is the better system of governance. Further, democracy is not an hindrance to development. So what is important is to uphold the democratic principles which we fail to do so sometimes. there are many democratic states which are doing well…

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    • @Lunda Davies democracy is a failing system worldwide! Look how many countries are faced with political parties refusing the results of elections, even in the West. In fact it’s a wider discussion worldwide.

      If objectivity is the golden cup of champions, then the writer has failed miserably since he puts forward an idea that democracy is under attack and suggests there is the agenda to end it! Where is the objectivity there? It’s okay to kick his backside as he is fatuous, pompous and sly, and snide in his article. Arrogant people should never be tolerated or given a free pass. Savage him a little until he goes back to court to do his job.

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