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Alba Iulia
Saturday, June 6, 2020

Sangwa urges President Lungu to declare state of emergency over Covid-19

Columns Sangwa urges President Lungu to declare state of emergency over Covid-19

Prominent Lusaka lawyer John Sangwa,S.C has urged President Edgar Lungu to declare a State of Public Emergency to combat the coronavirus.

In a letter dated March 26, 2020 to President Edgar Lungu and copied to the Law Association of Zambia, Mr Sangwa says the measures introduced by the government under the public health Act to combat the coronavirus are woefully inadequate to contain the ravages of the virus.

Mr Sangwa said that although the Constitution was the supreme law of the land, the maxim: Salus populi est suprema lex (‘The health, welfare, good, salvation, felicity of the people should be the supreme law”), remains true.

“Given the very desperate state of our economy and healthcare system, the coronavirus is a clear and present danger to our very existence as a country. The measures introduced by your government under the public health Act are woefully inadequate to contain the ravages of the virus. Globally, the knowledge of the virus is constantly being updated and no one knows for certain what the end will be or even how the world and life as we have known it will be once the virus is contained,” he said.

He said that it was clear that rich countries in the north would not help since they were equally affected by the same pandemic and their primary responsibility was to their own people,” he wrote.

“Given the very desperate state of our economy and healthcare system, the corona virus is a clear and present danger to our very existence as a country. The measures introduced by your Government under the Public Health Act are woefully inadequate to contain the ravages of the virus.”

“Globally, the knowledge of the virus is constantly being updated and no one knows for certain what the end will be or even how the world and life as we have known it will be once the virus is contained. It is clear that the rich countries in the north will not help us since they are equally affected by the same pandemic. The primary responsibility of those governments is to their own people.”

He added, “Whilst the international organisations such as the World Bank have offered to help, the presence of the corona virus in Zambia is a Zambian problem, which requires an urgent Zambian solution.”

“Given the experience of Italy and Spain, one shudders to imagine what the impact of the virus will be in Zambia given our depressed economy and the poor state of our health care system. Whilst the countries of Europe have the infrastructure and financial muscle to survive the pandemic and rebuild their economies as a country, we have nothing comparable.”

“I am not a medical expert, but common-sense dictates (given the experiences of other countries) that if we are to survive this pandemic the answer lies in your Government taking such measures as may be necessary to contain the number of cases already in the country and halt the introduction of new cases into the country.”

He continued, “The measures taken so far are totally inadequate. They do not engender confidence in the people that your Government is in charge of the situation. The solution is for you Mr President to exercise your powers under Article 30 of the Constitution and declare that a state of public emergency exists.”

“It is better for us to sacrifice our rights and freedoms now for a period not exceeding three months than to continue to enjoy these rights and freedoms at the cost of the destruction of the very people that are meant to enjoy them in the future.”

“We need clarity and direction in the management of our lives and businesses. The Regulations issued under the Public Health Act do not address these concerns. The traditional laws and institutions cannot adequately deal with the corona virus. I accordingly ask you to declare a state of public emergency and issue comprehensive regulations (Corona Virus Emergency Regulations) which must address: movements of people in and out of Zambia; (b) restrict movement of people within the country; (c) the rights of the employees and employers in various industries; (d) the provision of essential services; (e) the protection of businesses during this period; and the duties and responsibilities of the financial institutions and the Zambia Revenue Authority during this period.”

He said the piecemeal announcement of measures by your Government to address the situation does not help.

“Comprehensive regulations are required with regard to all aspects of our lives. Even in the case of public emergency people need clarity from the law as contained in the regulations to plan their lives. The regulations can be developed in consultation with key stakeholders.”

“In the interest of time some of the regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of the Emergency Powers Act and the Preservation of Public Security Act, in the past, can be adapted to the current situation. I know that the mention of the declaration of the state of emergency evokes bad memories of opposition political leaders being detained without trial. These fears can be allayed by limiting the purpose of the regulations to containing the corona virus and its effects.”

“The emergency powers were conceived for such situations. The rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are meaningful only if the very existence of the country and its people are assured.”

[Read 2,691 times, 2 reads today]

41 COMMENTS

  1. This guy sounds like HH who wants a State of emergency or whatever extremes declared. Just join UPND so that you suit the pattern. With less than 30 people confirmed cases you want a State of emergency. A normal person will be contributing to government efforts by donating labor and materials not to make things worse for Zambians.

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    • Hater ninshi your church is not live streaming the service? Your heart seems to be so full of hate.

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  2. Sangwa let the numbers dictate .
    Remember we have suffered with Malaria thru the years and Chloroquine could have set up some immunity.. may be we could be have some resistance than most places..
    Lets see

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  3. So you two kci and mbuzi want the cases to rise to unmanageable levels before Sangwa’s advice can be heeded? This is a novel virus with devastating effect. Do you want to lose your beloved ones before you can see sense in Sangwa’s advice?

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  4. Our economy is already dead and lockdown needs money to sustain it.
    Look at what this western countries
    Are pumping to sustain Do we have
    That money?

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  5. I happen to know John Sangwa personally. Whereas he’s been justified in wht he has been doing lately, I doubt his commitment to building a just society in Zambia. I may be mistaken because people do change but I remain wary about his real intentions.

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  6. He said that it was clear that rich countries in the north would not help since they were equally affected by the same pandemic and their primary responsibility was to their own people,”-LT
    “He said the piecemeal announcement of measures by your Government to address the situation does not help.”-LT
    The current PF administration needs to come to terms and not escalating tension for the sake of the country.
    No one with good intentions want to work with us.

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  7. If Sangwa reads the news he should know that even the most hit countries in the world are being cautious about extreme measure. Donald Trump has just failed to lookdown New York City. But the problem with our so called learned people in Zambia, Kuwayawaya fye. The belly thinks more than the brain.

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  8. No more five years this PF administration.

    Reception at the United Nations in New York this year will be very interesting to see whom will be listening to whom narratives.

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  9. This man has intelligence! He has brains and I strongly applaud and agree with him, the countries that have come out if this are the ones that have done three things:

    1. LOCKDOWN (for at least 1 to 2 weeks)

    2. RAPID TESTING AND QUARANTINE

    3. FUMIGATION/ SANITISATION (of stations and other mass transit points)

    Now all the above must be done in line with a well planned timetable for people to buy their essentials, in cases where people can’t buy I’m sorry but the govt has to provide some form of relief food aid at designated collection points under controlled strict military supervision and under strict limits on number of people to collect this food.What should be avoided is movement of alot people looking for food as that will spread the disease.

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  10. Agreed John Sangwa S.C., you are really courageous and a patriot. Should we wait for numbers when we now know the pattern from those who have been affected,Trump, Spain, Italy,Britain etc? And unlike these pandemic victims our economy itself is already on the death bed so how will we manage if our country reaches pandemic levels? Just liaise well with Dr Bwalya Ng’andu to reach a win-win balance, I trust the Minister of Finance.
    We can define what powers we want to give the presidency.

    We should just exercise extreme care and alertness as PF is in campaign mode.

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  11. I don’t agree with Mr. Sangwa on the state of emergency, the Lungus can prolong it to 2026. Given the brutality of this regime they can even stop us visiting pit latrines across our yards. Let’s just continue with the internationally approved standards of social distancing, avoid public gatherings, closing bars and restaurants, salons etc.

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  12. Uleta pa Nsaka tonaula!
    Let’s agree to disagree!
    Everyone’s input is valuable during crisis situations. GRZ does not have the Monopoly of wisdom in a crisis! A good government listens! Look at how UK is handling the crisis. The government is giving Daily updates, not just about number of cases, but also about new measures the leaders are putting in place. During these briefings, they are taking questions most of which have changed government plans e.g. testing of Frontline Health workers as they battle the virus. Are we regularly testing our Health workers? Your guess is as good as mine.

  13. This just shows how shallow minded Tutwa Ngulube is. Instead of talking about Corona virus, he is concentrating on attacking John Sangwa. Let me tell u Tutwa, everyone knows that u are very jelousy of Sangwa and his achievements. Almost everyone on the street is saying the same…that u are just jelousy of Sangwa. We can
    all see it where u are even campaigning that he be stripped off the SC status. What a shame ! U are a very big embarrassment among lawyers.

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  14. Who does this small boy think he is ? Shouldn’t he be busy fighting his disbarring from practice? How can we take a banned lawyer seriously? He has no moral grounds to advise his excellency. Kz

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  15. Who does this small boy think he is ? Shouldn’t he be busy fighting his disbarring from practice? How can we take a banned lawyer seriously? He has no moral grounds to advise his excellency. By the way correct your article because he is not prominent and neither a lawyer. He is just a common man. Kz

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  16. In this war, John Sangwa has the rank of Private. His war tactics should be through the chain of command for scrutiny before reaching the High Command.

    This analogy is instructive to people like you Sangwa, especially to your president Hakainde.

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  17. Love him or loathe him, John Sangwa has never misused a cient’s money. LAZ even assigns him work and that means he’s respected by his peers and that’s more than some lawyers ever achieved at the bar.

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  18. Whether or not SOE is the right thing, only the time and numbers will tell. For all we know, this thing may already be having such a hard time finding enough vulnerable hosts to be able to unleash any notable rampage. The existing measures might just be successfully to keep keep the digits low.

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  19. Sangwa is acting like HH, the president said the situation will tell on which measure to take, lockdown or state of emergency so Sangwa stay put.

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  20. No wonder Lazy Lungu looks sick and wont reduce fuel at the pump as the money….these thieves want to use for General Elections campaigning for PF will all be finished.

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  21. I think Sangwa is a brilliant constitutional lawyer but sometimes his sense of judgement leaves a lot to be desired (e.g. his input in getting Bishop Mambo convicted re-Savenda case)
    Why would he give such advise to a government that even he himself knows isnt good at managing people’s freedoms under normal circumstances.
    A wise fighter should know when to lay low

  22. iwe little boy Sangwa not every word that populates in your mental faculties should be expressed! President Lungu and Dr Chilufya are busy working with technocrats to find lasting technical solutions to Chinese virus. What if this Chinese virus is infinite, so in your little brains the state of emergency should be infinite? The exponential infection and death rates can be lagged by sufficiently equipping our health facilities. President Lungu is busy doing that. A lockdown in those shanty compounds with 10 people sharing a space is death sentence. Allow people to interact, mingle with wet kisses with china man so they can share the virus and build immunity.

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  23. Sangwa’s sentiments are the same raised by HH and Nevers Mumba. They have no clue on economic repercussion likely to impact on Zambia. Since when did this trio qualify to administer a HEALTH PANDEMIC of the magnitudes attained by COVID-19? Zambia’s geographical and social factors are at variance with those prevailing in a big State like South Africa where a Jet flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town takes 2 hrs. Samgwa, HH and Mumba may be too rich to care on the economic plight of the vulnerable people in Kalingalinga and Kanyama. Admittedly, Sangwa’s political walk from Cape to Cairo can be said to start with one step – hence his political out bursts. We wonder if UPND’s leadership has the capacity to assess Sangwa’s political ambition.

  24. If Sangwa has political ambition, I hv no problem with it. In any case he’s a citizen and fully entitled to aspire. At least he has no record of mis-applying a client’s money. You can’t condemn a citizen for merely aspiring.

  25. The United States of America underated the Corona pandemic. They did not prepare themselves when the problem was still associated with China alone. Today the situation in US is desperate and Donald Trump is running out of ideas and is now toning down in order to seek help from China.
    Ladies and gentlemen, let us take this pandemic seriously because it can wipe us within a short period of time. The Countries that have been helping us will not have resources to help us as they will have exhausted their reserves.
    Let uphold the timely advice of Sangwa. We have cried like babies during outbreaks of Cholera but the Corona pandemic will simply make us seek refuge in the remotest parts of our Country. Lusaka will be diserted. Let us act now.

  26. @Mwansa Kabinga, Sangwa as an intellectual he is fine but then he becomes compromised with political sides. Over the past months Sangwa has been thinking with political affiliation probably been bought or owes some political player hence his compromised judgement. Most professionals belong to professional bodies, Doctors have theirs, Engineers have theirs, Computer expert have were they belong as well as Lawyers. If a member does not agree with the body were they belong, it is not professional to run to the media. Sort you disagreements in-house or leave the body. Sangwa should have disagreed with LAZ in-house and also his stance on Covid-19 sounds political. What does a lawyer has to do with Covid-19 other than directly engaging medical bodies?

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  27. John Sangwa has no disagreement with the Law Association of Zambia. In fact LAZ is John Sangwa’s client. It’s the Judiciary that has a dispute with Sangwa.

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  28. A failed lawyer now giving advice on a matter he is totally incompetent about. John Sangwa should learn to be ashamed of himself sometimes! Insoni e buntu.

  29. ‘CARTEL members giving ‘advice’ to the PF government. Kikikikikikikikikikik, wonders will never end!! Yesterday it was Linda Kasonde, today it is the disgraced John Sangwa!

  30. These chaps (Cartel) are up to no good! So they have a hidden motive for calling for a STATE OF EMERGENCY. It is interesting to note that although many Countries have been worst hit by the corona virus – no Country has invoked a State of Emergency, not China, Italy or Germany! So why Zambia??

  31. This is a well calculated plot! I hope the President will not be fooled. By calling for declaration of NATIONAL DISASTER or STATE OF EMERGENCY these good-for-nothing imbeciles are counting on the hardships that will result. Many Zambians will face severe economic hardships which could then be blamed on government. This they know/ hope will fuel discontent among Zambians. And the Cartel/ Opposition will hope to benefit politically from this fallout. Shame on these opportunists!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. This is a well calculated malicious plot by the Cartel! I hope President ECL will not be cheated into submission. By calling for declaration of NATIONAL DISASTER or STATE OF EMERGENCY these good-for-nothing beings are counting on the hardships that will result. Many Zambians will face severe economic hardships which could then be blamed on government. This they know/ hope will fuel discontent among Zambians. And the Cartel/ Opposition will hope to benefit politically from this fallout. Shame on these opportunists!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  33. Even I killed a fly I can’t bring myself to hiring John Sangwa to defend me. This is after I watched his embarrassing utterances during debates on Bill 10. The chap showed that he now has no integrity or morals. Contrary to the principled guy of yesteryear.

  34. People should be weary of what has happened to the countries that have dilly-dallied about the implementation of crucial measures. Other countries may not need emergency measures, but if as a country you deem that this will be the only way to make people comply with public health measures, it may be necessary to pass the same. Instead of debating on the credibility of Sangwa and being primitively dismissive as from the likes of the fake KZ, people should seriously be assessing what strategies are best for Zambia to save lives.

  35. I hv questioned Sangwa’s motive without resorting to personal attacks. That for me is enough. The fact that they won’t listen to opposing views on Bill 10 means that they’re up to no good. They won’t even learn from blunders they made only 4 yrs ago. They were told that the amendments were not good enough but they went ahead with them. And they blew up millions just for the signing ceremony which is part of the public debt now drowning Zambia. Not even overnight prayer will rescue them from the debt mess.

  36. I am afraid too many Zambians do not know what is coming and what will be hitting us soon….We are starring catastrophe right in the face and we are busy laughing and joking around. Just over 30 days ago, the entire USA had a total of just 16 Covid -19 cases. Today they are approaching 160,000 cases, similarly Spain had below 100 cases, today they have overtaken the number of cases in China. In New York, refrigerated trucks are being used to store dead bodies, an ice rink in Madrid has been turned into a mortuary, the Italian health system has been stretched to its limits…..The problem is real, Sangwa is right. We need to take drastic measures to contain this monster approaching our country. No politics!!

  37. @Uwakwisano, if you want to use figures to stress you case be accurate. the USA did not have 16 cases 30 days ago. 20th January is not over 30 days ago but over 70 days. Today they are not approaching 160,000 they have 188,639 cases. Africa would have been hit by now with big numbers but the virus can not survive long on the surfaces( main transmission media} at temperatures above 37 degrees. None of the countries hardly hit have declared a state of emergency. If you are observing the rules of staying home, to some time to read.

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