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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Revisit the running mate clause – Chitimukulu

Columns Revisit the running mate clause - Chitimukulu

By Henry Kanyanta Sosala


I entirely agree with Dickson Jere that the above clause should be revisited. And I appeal to the delegates to the National Dialogue forum to seriously examine the running mate clause with a view of the deadly consequences it would have in future and please do not listen to those Judas Escariots who are on foreign payrolls. They are given programmes by their paymasters on strategies – they are boxed in a coffin-like narrowness of vision and thereby suffocate their creative imaginations.

I got the attention of President Levy Mwanawasa in 2005 during the Constitution Review Commission. He got hold of something I had written about the relationship between the Catholic Bishops and the Oasis Forum in which I had pointed out why these two bodies were insisting that the Constitution should be adopted through the Constituent Assembly:

‘’The Oasis Forum describes itself as a ’Church-led’ movement. And so, what are implications in this declaration? Which particular church is actually leading the Oasis Forum and why? Why have the Catholic Bishops in exclusion of the other church fathers issued a pastoral statement in support of the Oasis Forum, when such declaration had already been made through the Catholic’s own Mother body? And it was at this point that His Grace Archbishop Mpundu who was Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) President as well as Lusaka Archdiocese Coadjutor declared: ’…. The involvement of the Catholic Church in the Oasis forum is to ensure that a people-driven Constitution is enacted.’ (Saturday Post 24th December 2005) .

‘’Why have the Catholic fathers authorized the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace to be campaign ‘crack unit’ for the Oasis Forum throughout the country? From 9th to 12th January 2006, the chiefs from Mpika, Luwingu and Kasama districts attended a workshop at Chilubula mission, which was organized by the Catholic Commission for Justice and peace in order to soften our hearts on the constituent assembly.

‘’Can the Catholic Bishops just by themselves allow the Church to embark on such a massive political mobilization of the entire country without the whistle from the ‘holy see?’ can the Oasis Forum on its own really raise the staggering sum of over K700 billion locally for the Constituent Assembly or is the local fundraising campaign merely a camouflage for the real source?

‘’Do all these not imply that the Church of Rome is determined to form the next government in Zambia through the Oasis Forum? Since the Catholic Church is opposed to the Declaration in the Constitution for Zambia to be a Christian nation, why has the Church particularly opted for the Oasis Forum to run its government? Is it not when God is recognized in the administration of the nation that the people attain to the maximum of their potential?

‘’In view of the above, the Church-led Oasis Forum has transferred its goal posts from the level grounds of the political battlefield into the sanctuary of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is a deliberate and calculated move because the underlying combined political and spiritual maneuvers only leads to what is called Old Testament Terrorism (OTT) and which can be summed up in this way: to oppose the Church-led Oasis Forum is to be opposed to the Catholic Bishops; to oppose the Bishops is to be opposed to the Catholic Church; to oppose the Catholic Church is to be opposed to her teachings and to oppose her teachings is to be stigmatized as a heretic.’’

President Mwanawasa having been brought up as a Watchtower was very surprised that I, being what is known as a ‘’staunch Catholic’’ was able to write such. But I explained to him that I was a free-thinker and one of the tenets of being a free-thinker is to tell people what they need to know rather than what they want to hear. And I went on to explain that the Catholic Church was the freest religious organizations which accommodates even it’s bitter critics. And I quoted what a Jesuit Catholic priest, Father Gerard W. Hughes had written in his book ‘’God of Surprises’’: ‘’The Church must encourage the critical element in its members. If it fails to do so, then the individual will not be able to integrate religious belief with everyday experience or, put in other words, God will be excluded from most of the individual’s life until religion comes to be considered a private but harmless eccentricity of a minority…..So a Church which really trusts God is not afraid, but encourages its members to search and question, guiding them in her wisdom and warning them of routes which she knows from long experience to be cul-de-sacs. Her teachings will never be delivered as the last word on any subject, but rather as signposts, encouraging her members to explore the route further for themselves. Otherwise, undue emphasis on the institutional element today is likely to produce a Church of dwindling numbers, loyal, obedient, docile, uninspired and passive members, God’s frozen people.’’

It was from there that I wrote a document for President Mwanawasa titled: DO NOT BE FOOLED ABOUT THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY: A CONFRONTATION WITH CLASS COLONIALISTS. And in chapter VI under the title: ‘’The Constitution Could Ignite Political Chaos,’’ I wrote quoting from the Interim Report of the Constitution Review Commission: ‘’ Article 149 (1) of the Mung’omba Draft Constitution states: ‘’There shall be an office of the Vice-President of the Republic.’’ And (3) states: ‘’An election to the office of Vice-President shall be conducted at the same time as that of an election to the office of President, so that a vote cast for a presidential candidate is a vote for the Vice-Presidential candidate, and if the Presidential candidate is elected, the Vice-Presidential candidate is elected.’’

In Article of the Interim Report of the Constitution Review Commission, the people rightly submitted: ‘’A large number of petitioners said that the Vice-President should be appointed by the President amongst elected Members of Parliament or nominated from outside Parliament as is the case currently. It was argued that having the Vice-President elected by universal adult suffrage would make it difficult for such a person to be moved and may promote insubordination.’’

The Commissioners’ view on political rivalry was that specifying functions of a Vice-President would avoid friction and minimize this…. Besides, the Vice-President would have sworn allegiance to the Constitution, which created his position and any act of insubordination would be a reason for his removal.

I then wrote that it was a pity that the Commissioners exhibited the characteristics of an eye that sees everything before it, but does not see itself. How can an African show allegiance to a piece of paper other than to the people who voted for him and in such cases it could even be claimed that people actually voted for the Vice-President other than the President, and that it was the Vice-President whom the people voted for. The Commissioners overlooked that the fact that the Vice-President could not accept his dismissal, since it’s the people who had voted him and therefore it’s only the people who could remove him from office. And this could definitely cause a split in the nation.

I went on to state that had the Commissioners made an effort to critically the African political history in this respect, they could have realized that there was always some power struggle between the two top powerful people in the African nations. And here are some examples: In Zambia: Messrs Nkumbula and Kaunda; Messrs Nkumbula and Job Michello; Messrs Kaunda and Kapwepwe; Messrs Chiluba and Sata; Messrs Chiluba and Mwanawasa. In Algeria: Mr. Ben Bella and Colonel Gaddafi. In Kenya: Messrs Kenyatta and Odinga Odinga. In Tanzania: Messrs Nyerere and Oscar Kambona. In Congo: General Mobutu and Nguza Kai bond. In Malawi: Dr. Kamuzu Banda and Mr. Henry Chipembere. In Zimbabwe: Messrs Joshua Nkomo and Nabaningi Sithole; Messrs Nabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe; Messrs Robert Mugabe and Edgar Tekere.

And in closing I wrote that what we must bear in mind is that there would always be people who would support the Vice-President inspite of whatever genuine reasons he would be dismissed from his position if he is backed by the Constitution. The problem is that we have in our midst certain people who stubbornly just want to witness ‘’apatotelwa iminang’u’’ i.e., they are a sort of people who have to burn their fingers first, before learning to respect fire.

And please note that I wrote the above in my document in 2005 and fortunately I am still at the tail end of history and can see what has since transpired and the problems other nations have gone through in this respect. Chika Onyeni, a Nigerian resident in America wrote in his book, ‘’Roar of the African Lion’’: ‘’The dismissal of Deputy President Jacob Zuma in June 2005 could have generated a great crisis in South Africa. Instead, Zuma went on to become the country’s democratically elected President. The situation has been quite different in Nigeria and Malawi…… In reacting to his dismissal, Zuma had this to say: ‘I believe [Mbeki] has taken this decision not because he believes I am guilty of any crime but because of considerations relating to the constraints within which government operates.’ It is the mutual understanding and respect that these two individuals had for each other that made the dismissal less of an issue than it would have been elsewhere.’’

But did that issue end there? The problem arose when on 8th May 2006 that the Judge acquitted Mr. Zuma of rape charges. And in April 2009 the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering against Mr. Zuma, that Mr. Zuma conspired with Julius Malema and successfully ousted President Mbeki from office. And as usual Mr. Zuma and Julius Malema later became bitter enemies.

Dickson Jere, the former Presidential press aid in the Rupiah Banda regime   wrote: ‘’…. As the National dialogue Forum starts deliberations on the Constitution, the running mate clause must be re-looked given the lessons leant so far. In Malawi where they have a similar running mate clause, all the three running mates who became Vice-Presidents of Malawi ended up differing with the sitting President. For example, President Bingu Wa Mutharika had to send his running mate and Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha to prison for treason, but he remained VEEP while in remand prison.

‘’In his second term, Mutharika differed with his new Vice-President Joyce Banda. He kicked her out of the ruling party but she remained constitutionally a Vice-President of Malawi even after she formed her own party. Currently President Mutharika has differed with his Vice-President Saulos Chilima. In Zambia, the running mate clause appears to be working largely because the current Vice-President Inonge Wina is not power hungry.’’ (Quoted by Oliver Samboko, Daily Nation 22nd April 2019)

Let us look further into the Malawi episode again. President Mutharika had accused Vice-President Chilumpha of running a parallel administration. And unlike Mr. Zuma, Vice=President Chilumpha had this to say: ‘’As far as I am concerned I can only leave this office through impeachment, resignation or my death and none of those things has happened, so I am still the elected Vice-President of this Republic.’’ You may recall that this was exactly what I had actually told our Commissioners in 2005.

Chika Onyeni wrote: President Olusegun Obasanjo announced on Saturday 23rd December 2006 that he had sacked his Vice-President, Abubakar Atiku. The sacking was the result of a long-running feud between the two men. Obasanjo was campaigning for the third term and equally Atiku was vociferously campaigning against the President’s running for the third term.’’

What was interesting that I was in Nigeria this year before the elections and Mr. Abubakar Atiku was challenging President Muhammadu Bahari and Mr. Obasanjo was in support of Mr. Atiku whom he has accused of many crimes when he was his VEEP.

The problem we are currently facing in our nation is that the nation is swallowed up with tribalism everywhere. For example, when former Public service pensions Fund (PSPF), Dr. Richard Mwiinga’s contract was not renewed, UPND chairperson, Mutale Nalumango accused President Lungu of not renewing the contract of Dr. Mwiinga because he was Tonga. However, Dr. Mwiinga distanced himself from the clique which included former Secretary to the cabinet, Dr. Sketchley Sacika that he had never discussed his dismissal with anyone.

Meanwhile, a former PSPF employee, Joseph Zulu whose contract was also terminated wondered why President Lungu was being accused when it was the board that proposed such action. He said his contract was not renewed inspite of coming from Eastern Province. (Daily Nation 18th January 2018).

And let me digress to point out that Mrs. Nalumango who comes from Northern Province never uttered a word when after 2016 elections Bembas were beaten and their properties destroyed in Southern Province.





[Read 6,507 times, 1 reads today]


    • So Inonge Wina was just used and now that she can’t be fired PF wants to change the constitution? Imagine if Trump were to suggest such foolishness in the US? The running mate clause is fine. Find a way to work with it.

    • Why change constitution again? Why did you make a wrong one? The KK constitution was just great. Some of us still have copy of it.
      Your PF constitution is rubbish full of misspelled words.

    • All this because Inonge Wina could not be removed. Can Trump ask for America to remove the running mate? Just find a way to work within the law. We know you wanted to replace Inonge Wina with a bemba.

    • Keep it. Zambian presidents love to die in office. We don’t want presidential elections every year!

    • I now wonder whether my Bemba relatives are governed well with a Chief like Sosala! Personally I feel there is no need to alter the running mate clause. In fact all examples of tiffs between Pres. and Veeps the chief is citing are actually reasons why the clause must be maintained and check excesses of presidents!

      Why do people rush to alter laws when faced with problems when the first thing to do should be to check attitudes and mentalities of leaders …

    • Tapali efyo balashile mukwai in this article he espouses free thinking but at the same time pretty much proposing a VP who is a bootlicker and chola boy to the President … why else would you be scared that a VP will at some point think or act differently from the President ? what if the President abrogates the constitution and an Independent VP who is protected by the constitution holds him/her accountable?? Dicksons article is flawed simply because it solely focuses on the issues of Power at the expense of all other functionalities that such a constitutional provision accords. Is Malawi a failed state? No Are Malawians not happy with the current set up? No. In fact for the Citizens its working fine except for the President. So Chitimukulu by virtue of agreeing with DJ article in its…


    • In fact, even VP shall run for the posts and electorates shall vote for the same. VP shall always act when president is out of Zambia, even for a minute he is out, VP becomes President.

      Otherwise his role shall be the same what he does presently.

    • Fake! Article as Jere’s… it’s focused on using the VP to cement and protect the Presidential powers in fact the example of Malawi u are using the citizens are not complaining and Malawi has not been made ungovernable in anyway. You are so preoccupied with concentrated powers around the President that an independent VP makes u sooo uncomfortable and this thinking extends to everything else the Judiciary, the media, ACC etc. U cannot imagine the President not controlling any institution later on the VP to you this equals confusion and anarchy

    • Paramount Chief Chitimukulu, Henry Kanyanta Sosala, I have always relished your articles, except this one. It’s off the mark. Was it for lack of something better to do that you wrote it?

  1. It’s because of this same backward thinking that the running mate clause was introduced. Just leave it. It’s fine the way it is.

  2. Sosala is a very good politician, even though his writings shows that he is short tempered.
    Running-mate is good.
    Inonge Wina is still in PF because of that “Running-mate” forced marriage.
    Edgar would have preferred that thug from Jada from Kafue he has sent to Saudi Arabia as ambassador,

  3. As usual, a good educative article,rich in history to settle the right perspective to support proposed thoughts. While we relooking the Vice President clause is important we SHOULDNT be fixated on the Malawi examples.Let us at other countries where this could be working well,e.g.Ghana,Nigeria.We can keep the clause but ensure that we put options for JUSTIFIABLE dismissal through a process that can hold VPaccountable to avoid insurbodination,indiscipline violation of constitution.This to avoid a President to be all powerful and stifle democracy.The same should apply to MPs,party constitutions should not be used to expel MPs and cause bye-elections!!

  4. Kanabesa why are you so interested in partisan politics? You condemn tribalism but at the same time promote Bemba hegemony.You are a free but very prejudiced thinker and as Chitimukulu please avoid taking sides on political matters as this contributes to polarisation, even among your subjects. You are encouraging critical reasoning yet calling some delegates with views different from yours “JUDAS ISCARIOTS”.Name-calling does not resonate well with free-thinking.Maybe Ba Sata knew you better.

  5. This clause was brought in to mitigate the expense of going for a by election each time the president died and it was brought about through experience which is the best teacher.

  6. I want to politely disagree with his Majesty the Chiti Mukulu just on one point. While I agree with him on the grounds that he has put across, there is one angle that he has touched. The issue of presidential by-elections is one which we should not entertain because of the amount of resources it gobbles. It was among the reasons why that recommendation was adopted. As a country we don’t have the resources to keep spending whenever the office of the President falls vacant. The running mate issue was recommended by both The Mwanakatwe and Mungomba Constitution Review Commissions representing the views of the people. We may just have to revise it to ensure that it takes care of the perceived future challenges. For example, collective responsibility; the vice president cannot form a…

  7. Revisit and refine not remove. Sometimes I wonder is it the black skin about us that is wrong or what? We seem to always envy the USA and there way of doing things, and so we adopted the dunning mate clause but we just can’t seemingly make it work, why? Ideology. How two individuals with very different ideologies work together? It was the case with Malawi. The only reason a presidential candidate picked a running mate they picked for the 2016 general election was because all of them wanted plot 1, nothing else. HH sidelined Pilgrim because he thought he needed the bemba vote to win, ECL picked Wina because her ideological spectrum is mid-way and doesn’t pose a threat to him. Nawakwi the same and so forth.
    The constitution should clearly state criteria of running mate and their face…

    • cont’d.. The constitution should clearly state criteria of running mate and their face should be on the ballot paper too.
      Some say Wina was picked because she was incumbent, but that’s not much of a reason. Just as the country has a vice president so should be political parties.

  8. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry after reading this article from the Paramount Chief. Surely he ow not advocating for concentration of power in one individual. Africa has suffered irreparable damage at the hands of dictators. Enough of this. Let the running mate clause stay. By his own admission and observation there has be no problem with this clause in Zambia and so what is the basis for this call to change? No your Royal Highness, you have missed the point here. Let the young people of this country determine their future, you have lived your own life already!


  10. Well done my Chief for a talking sense. Am one of those that did not support the clause just like the dual citizenship clause.
    As food for thought imagine HH in state house and CK as his vice. wHAT WOULD BE THE RELATIONSHIP LIKE?
    Both have ambitions of being the top man.

    Zambians think twice about the clauses.

    The problem is that we Zambians we want to be more democratic than the western democrats themselves.

    Even the Public Order Act, Opposition Parties and some Imperialist sponsored NGOs want Anarchy to be the order of the day. How do just wake up and call for the so called peaceful assembly or protest by blocking other peoples right of way and movement later on damaging other peoples cars and properties and you expect the POLICE to watch all in the name of freedom of…

  11. Kanabesa you present this like a well researched academic piece but it lacks just one major requirement: Balance! All your examples are one sided – of cases that did not work. Am also worried when you make it sound like this is an African problem. That differing with your boss only happens in African politics. Perhaps Sir it is our reaction to a difference of opinion that distinguishes us from others – we do not want to tolerate surbodinates who question our decisions. We see this as insurbordination. Independent thinking surbodinates are important to democracy Sir. Interestingly Kanabesa the examples of differences you quoted in Zambia are all of Veeps who were hand picked which means the thrust of your articles is that the President should be able to fire who ever does not tow his line…

  12. Great article but that clause shouldn’t be abolished. The example given on Malawi is because Malawi have a useless President. If they never had that clause he would have been firing them!! That clause is good for democracy and transparency.

  13. The world over people are discussing ways of reducing the powers of the president but in Zambia we are looking at ways of increasing the powers of the president even if the president has already a lot of power. Zambians are generally very loyal people to the appointing authority. The chief should not worry himself of rebellion.

  14. Well spoken but do not agree with you on the VP position. It must not change. It must be the way it is. Malawi examples are good. In fact that is why we need the running mate close. Looking forward to the chief one day.

  15. Tapali efyo balashile mukwai in this article he espouses free thinking but at the same time pretty much proposing a VP who is a bootlicker and chola boy to the President … why else would you be scared that a VP will at some point think or act differently from the President ? what if the President abrogates the constitution and an Independent VP who is protected by the constitution holds him/her accountable?? Dicksons article is flawed simply because it solely focuses on the issues of Power at the expense of all other functionalities that such a constitutional provision accords. Is Malawi a failed state? No Are Malawians not happy with the current set up? No. In fact for the Citizens its working fine except for the President. So Chitimukulu by virtue of agreeing with DJ article in its…

  16. To strengthen the running mate clause, let us clearly give the president a group of assassins to sort out a disrespectful vice president.
    That way vice presidents will know that their lives depend on their loyalty to the president

  17. The issue of a running mate is a serious one.Yes keep it,but add clauses which shall give the president powers to fire a misbehaving running mate.
    Well said Mwine Lubemba-Chitimukulu!!

    • @Njimbu. Not president to fire, the president can cook up anything just like the Malawi case of treason of the veep. Since the is equally elected the position should have an impeachment clause.

  18. The great mwine Lubemba, has given wise counsel openly unlike other chiefs who we all know move in the night and own limousines from the commissions of the privatization of our mines.

  19. Very useless article, shallow minded chief,all laws have some sort of challenges but what smart leaders do is to fine tune them .infact running mate or VP shouldn’t be given more constitutional powers.


  21. Instead of running mate clause, let there be a clause to recall President and his running mate any time after 6 months of them being in the job. Thereafter every six months registered voters can recall the President and if recall voting gets 50% +1 he stands disqualified for life. Start this with Lungu

  22. Whilst I respect the intellect of the Chief Chitimukulu, he isn’t always right.
    Ben Bella was Algeria, Gaddafi was Libya, different countries.
    In my opinion, keep religion out of politics and the Constitution because Zambia is definitely not a Christian Nation. That clause was put there to hoodwink the gullibles whilst those having control over them pillaged and plundered and had a good time. Shame.;

  23. People can you read the article, before commenting? Spend abit of time to read and understand what the Chief has put across for public discussion. Nowhere has the Chief suggested, that the Vice President clause be done away with. The Chief has highlighted the merits and demerits of the clause. Revisiting the clause in the constitution does not mean, do away with like some people are proclaiming. Poor reading culture, typical of Zambians condemning everything without understanding can be very dangerous. Read again the Chief, has elaborated very important issues in his article. Bravo kanabesa. Don’t listen to empty tins and armchair critics good for nothing individuals, condemning you even before they read and understand anything is shameful.

    • Kapoma Kabaso People have read and understood.You have read but have not fully understood what the chief is indirectly suggesting and justifying. The chief has given only the demerits of the of the article and no merits at all.In fact, the chief has even gone further to imply that anybody who does not agree with him is either a Judas Iscariot or a tribalist. Really?

    • mitimiti – You are exhibiting symptoms of somebody who may have read the article but does not understand it. Where does the “the chief has even gone further to imply that anybody who does not agree with him is either a Judas Iscariot or a tribalist”?

  24. Scatter brain at its best, virtually no coherence of the subject matter. Which way, Mr. Paramount Chief?

  25. I always love Mwinelubemba’s analyses. That is why i think the composition of the deligates to the National dialogue is almost complete. There are people who i think have the wisdom and will only look out for what is best for mother zambia.
    May the lord increase their wisdom levels during the 10 days and beyond.

  26. When we read articles well written and well researched on Media let us comment fairly tribe tags don’t mean well for the unity of this country.

  27. This essay lacks rationale. Zambia has descended into a farce because our politicians have lacked vision and integrity. Declaring Zambia a Christian nation was a huge mistake and we’ve paid heavily for it. We need to get back to the drawing board and address the issues facing the nation now. This dialogue business isn’t the way forward. A complete removal and replacement of the Constitution is key.

  28. The Paramount Chief is perfectly spot on. He has recognised the rationale for running mate vice president but he is saying it does not seem to work in an African setting. He then goes out of his way to give an exhaustive list of examples. So what is your concern?

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