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Friday, September 24, 2021

The President Should Rescind the Decision to Deploy Defence Forces

Feature Politics The President Should Rescind the Decision to Deploy Defence Forces

By Henry Kyambalesa

Our brother President Edgar C. Lungu needs to promptly rescind his decision to deploy defence forces to quell political violence expected to be perpetrated by unruly supporters of citizens vying for elective positions in government ahead of the August 12, 2021 general elections. He should do so for two important reasons.

Firstly, the gallant members of our defence forces are not trained to observe the rights and freedoms of the citizenry guaranteed by the Republican constitution and are, therefore, likely to violate such rights and freedoms. As such, the President will do well to guard himself against being indicted by the International Court of Justice for any atrocities which are likely to be committed by some members of the defence forces.

Secondly, the deployment of our beloved country’s defence forces to deal with domestic issues and matters other than public emergencies and national disasters may not be constitutional. The Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) No. 2 of 2016 stipulates the following as the Constitutional functions of the Defence Forces and the Zambia Police Service:

Article 192:

(2) The Defence Force shall—(a) preserve and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic; (b) foster harmony and understanding between the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, an auxiliary unit and members of society; and (c) cooperate with State organs and State institutions in times of public emergencies and national disasters.

Article 193:

(2) The Zambia Police Service shall—(a) protect life and property; (b) preserve peace and maintain law and order; (c) ensure the security of the people; (d) detect and prevent crime; (e) uphold the Bill of Rights; (f) foster and promote good relationships with the Defence Force, other national security services and members of society; and (g) perform other functions as prescribed.

Article 195:

(1) The President may deploy personnel of the Defence Force outside the Republic.

(2) Where the President deploys personnel of the Defence Force outside the Republic, the President shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable, inform the National Assembly of the deployment. (Note: The National Assembly is currently dissolved.)

There are also less-important reasons why the President needs to rescind his decision to deploy the military to perform non-traditional functions of preserving peace and maintaining law and order. Firstly, the presence of military personnel and cordons on streets is potentially going to worsen voter turn-out because timid voters will most likely avoid criss-crossing military personnel and cordons to go to polling stations.

Secondly, it is going to require a great deal of tact to send the military back to the barracks after the elections, unless it is the President’s intention to stay in power with the help of defence forces in the event that he loses the forthcoming presidential election.

Thirdly, engagement of the military to quell political violence before and during elections is likely to be interpreted by some military officers as an invitation to support the Commander-in-Chief and his political party against their political opponents—a situation which can easily get out of hand and culminate in unimaginable tragedy.

However, the President has unquestionable authority to deploy the Zambia Paramilitary Battalion, an auxiliary unit of the Zambia Police Service, to reinforce the work of the Zambia Police Service in maintaining law and order. There is a good reason why we have the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence as separate cabinet-level units of the Executive branch of government.

45 COMMENTS

  1. I knew it. ECL is simply smarter than you all. The move easily defeats your intentions to cause violence. And you are right your timid stupid violent cadres will not vote, for you only instructed them to disturbilize the peace of our people. Tulemubwekeshapo Sorry. Military will only kick ‘hass’ when need be. Why are you scared if you’re not violent?

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  2. Very solid reasons explained by the article author.Its also very risky to politicize the security wings that’s how Rwanda genocide started.

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  3. YES PF ARE KNOWN TROUBLE MAKERS
    THE QUESTION >> IS THE PRESIDENT IGNORANT OR BLIND AS TO WHAT THE PF PARTY IS DOING

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  4. All African dictators have their children or closest relatives in the army. Museveni among many has a son who is a general and was in charge of keeping his father in power during the last election. Lungu does not have any sons or daughters in the military. So, the closest he could get was a nephew of his trusted lieutenant Freedom Sikazwe. The Attorney General must have advised him about the legality of what he has done. But the most important thing to bear in mind is really, what will happen if he LOSES the elections? Zambia may be headed for the first successful military coup.

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  5. Mr Kaizar Zulu, I know we are reaching election day but please could you stop using that kind of language? we are all Zambians though different political part but please lets use good language on this plateful. No insulting each other. It is one zambia one nation. Please just advice no offence

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  6. So there are pockets of people who sympathize with the infamous Mapatizya formula! They can’t win no matter how much red they can be

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  7. PF IS SO SCARED AND RIGHTLY SO THEY ARE BEHIND
    WITH THEM ANYTHING GOES
    A COUPLE OF DEATHS WHICH IS VERY SAD DOESNT NEED THE ARMY
    IT CAN NOW BE INTINIDATION PURE AND SIMPLE
    AS POINTED OUT HE HAS THE RIGHT BUT IT CERTAINLY WONT HELP PF AT THE END OF THE DAY

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  8. The army should not be deployed carelessly. When you look at the incidents that led to the deployment of the army, are they the type of violent activities that could have been avoided through the presence of the army? No. These are incidents that can be controlled through police intelligence and using civic control approaches. Deploying the police has the unintended consequence of undermining the police. They will now seat back and watch criminal activities taking place instead of stepping up to control as they will be thinking the better resourced army are out there to take charge. Big mistake.!

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  9. This is another demented wanna be analyst. We do not want what happened in South Africa to happen here. In fact, more soldiers should be on the streets with permission to beat the crap out of anyone bent on causing chaos and formenting violence. This is no time for human rights. These rights will safeguarded by being strict with anyone wanting to bring confusion in the land. I say to ECL, if and when necessary, pronounce a curfew and deploy more soldiers on the streets, until after all results have been called. No time for nonsense.

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  10. The president is on firm ground. Citizens should not fear their own soldiers and police. Seeing the army will give confidence to the voters. The author should also be schooled that our army training includes peace keeping. You are thinking of the army that just emerged from hiding to war zone. Zambia Army has been training its battalions on peace keeping missions. The record of the Zambia army in UN peace keeping has been superb. Mr Henry what are you trying to hide? Ufisanji …

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  11. The President can’t just ask the defence forces to supplement the police he has intelligence information on what is being planned and l believe its far worse than what we saw with the murder of the two guys . If you’ve no intention of causing mayhem why fear? The army is there to protect the people. Just campaign peacefully and go and vote without fear and lose quietly.

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  12. Let the soldiers be. Some poeple will learn the hard way when they can slapped because even KZ if he misbehaves will be nyoweshad…No PF commander will survive, it is the Police PFcan tame. Just wait when they start getting beaten, that is when they will plead for their withdrawal.

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  13. Prevention is better than cure. The presence of military personnel will dissuade potential perpetrators of election violence. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the country must safeguard peace for development in the country. The military is always ready and trained to carry out these types of duties. So, there is no need to start guessing the purpose of their deployment. The military are being deployed to preserve peace for development i the country before during and after elections. period.

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  14. In fact there should be the presence of the military in all parts of the country, particularly in Namwala where Northerners and Easterners had their huts torched and driven out of the area like wild animals in 2016. Prevention is better than cure!

  15. Mwachilamo, in zambia a person can’t afford to replace a side view mirror let alone a windscreen if its damaged by unruly political behavior. You’ve taken the police for granted and soldiers are a different animal. The President has done a good thing to preserve people’s properties and lives.

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  16. The incomimg vice presidents visit in Kaputa suggests that UPND are runnaway winners in that province .Geee, the crowd was massive

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  17. The author has provided persuasive and non-partisan reasons why ECL needs to rescind his decision to deploy the military to perform functions that are the preserve of the civil police and the paramilitary battalion. Brief and to the point. Kaizar Zulu believes ECL is a dictator and should, therefore, not be expected to be advised by ordinary citizens like my former CBU lecturer. Kaizar, even Kings and Queens listen to and act on suggestions by the common people. An ignorant and 1st-grader-type of comment from Kaizar as usual!

  18. The President deploying troops is uncalled for, but it has happened. How many legalities has Edgar Lungu been permitted? We are a lax citizenry.
    With that being said, why is the IG of police still having a job? The deployment of soldiers shows that he has failed his 6month contract, why is the president still keeping him?

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  19. Dr. Makasa Kasonde, I understand the shallowness of your comment because you are a medical officer who is not schooled on civil-military relations in pre-colonial and post-colonial Africa. As the late Tetamashimba once observed, it is important to refrain from making comments on issues you don’t understand.

  20. Just seeing hordes of army personnel on the streets other than the barracks is intimidating to the ordinary citizen whose understanding of soldiers littered all over the place is harassment of the innocents! The month before elections day and a dissolved parliament makes the president a lame duck who ought to tread carefully in the decisions made during this period lest he assume dictatorial character and treasonous! Send soldiers back to their barracks to stay alert to their mandate!

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  21. Kaizar: “Who … [is Henry] to tell the commander in chief of all armed forces what to do?” Presidents or commanders-in-chief are ordinary humans whose knowledge and skills are limited, even in fields and spheres of their specialization. This fact applies to ECL and to all other Republican presidents who temporarily occupied or will temporarily occupy the office of Republican president. They are not some kind of super-humans. Deployment of the military to deal with domestic matters will turn out to be ECL’s and our country’s most regrettable decisions. We can learn from other countries where similar decisions were made. Simply, experience teaches fools.

  22. Most dictators come to their end when the armed forces in their desperation turn on them. That usually means DEATH or long jail terms!

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  23. Our military is very disciplined and commands global respect – which is why they have received so many accolades internationally during their peace keeping missions in the Central Africa Republican and Southern Sudan. Have we forgotten the civilized and disciplined manner in which they handled street vendors in Lusaka to forestall a potentially catastrophic cholera outbreak? Those opposing the military to work alongside the police now, during, and after the elections, are praying for mayhem to break out to achieve their dark and sinister goals.

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  24. Well, the Haitian President gerrymandered the constitution and curved a third term for himself. Thus sparked protests in The capital, he in turn deployed the army. Well, a bunch of mercenaries scaled the presidential palace and blasted his ass off. Thus as last month. Chagwa, beware naiwe, uzagwa kanamunungu tuwe!

  25. You are asking the wrong person ..this country is under state capture by criminals Lazy Lungu is simply a weak and inept President. Ask the crooks like Findlay they have more power over their Chamwama boy!!

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  26. Reasons advanced by Mr Kyambalesa are as flawed ans the entire analysis. How does he say ECL will be indicted to the Hague when the president is within the law?

    1. The Defence Force shall cooperate with State organs and State institutions in times of public emergencies and national disasters.

    -IT IS ALREADY A PUBLIC EMERGENCY AND STATE ORGANS LIKE ZP, AND ECZ ARE IN CHARGE.

    2. Where the President deploys personnel of the Defence Force outside the Republic, the President shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable, inform the National Assembly of the deployment

    -THE ARMY IS NOT DEPLOYED OUTSIDE ZAMBIA AND PARLIAMENT RATIFICATION IS UNNECESSARY EVEN WHEN IT ISN’T DISSOLVED.

    3. The police shall foster and promote good relationships with the Defence Force, other national…

  27. 3. The police shall foster and promote good relationships with the Defence Force, other national security services and members of society.

    THE POLICE IS CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED TO WORK WITH THE ARMY.

  28. So that blood keeps being shed. If Soldiers can be deployed in USA the so called greatest democracy, what about Zambia. The USA police failed to deal with rioters and you think Kanganjas men and women would handle panga wielding blood thirst cadres.

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  29. Dominion: The police did not fail to control demonstrators in the USA. They were only acting on the directives of local authorities to respect citizens’ right to demonstrate. And it is not any regular organ of the military that was deployed but the National Guard, which is similar to the Zambia National Service and the Paramilitary Battalion in Zambia. It is an impeachable offence for an American president to use any regular organ of the military to perform domestic functions other than in the mitigation of the effects of disasters. Check your facts before you comment and confuse gullible Zambians.

  30. Let violent one meet their maker when they attempt their silliness. Sometimes people forget that Zambia has a functional army.

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  31. This president is a man who values peace and has great respect for human rights . It does not make sense for one person to put our country in flames just because he wants to be president there for the president has done well to call in the military to maintain law and order.

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  32. The author to the article forgot a very important lesson of remembering the content of your article and evaluating it to look for answers. The very first article 192 is probably the very reason our defence forces are on high alert. This is not about HH. It will become clear after the polls.

  33. This is the worst mistake E C. Lungu has made at the end of his Presidency, the same soldiers he has deployed will silently campaign against him. The commander or general staff have agreed to beef up the disgraced Zambia Police but wait what will happen after 12/08/21 PF supporters will find it difficult it claim victory and will instead allow the UPND to carry the day. The soldiers will be on the ground country wide and will be first ones to know that Lungu and his once mighty PF have lost power and the junior commanding officers in the field shall watch people celebrating change of power. This deployment surely is a blessing in disguise which ECL will leave to regret.

  34. Mulongoti Machayi, it is clear that your knowledge is very limited. “Promoting good relationships” with another organ of government does not imply performing the functions of another organ of government. The civil police, for example, will never be directed to perform the functions of the military by going to war against Zambian’s enemies. If the roles or functions of the military and the civil police were interchangeable, there would have been no reason to have two separate government ministries in any country — Home Affairs and Defence. This should be commonsense, but as someone insinuated on LT, commonsense is not common to all.

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