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Sunday, August 7, 2022

The DPP’s dilemma – why Charity Siyuni will be sacked

Columns The DPP’s dilemma – why Charity Siyuni will be sacked

By Chimwemwe Mwanza

His back against the wall and boxed in a pigeonhole, Mutembo Nchito facing 11 charges, 9 of which were of a criminal nature, did the unthinkable. Using powers vested in his office, Nchito outfoxed his detractors by entering a nolle prosequi against his person – in the process acquitting himself of all charges. Stuff of legends, right?

This precedence befuddled state prosecutors who were dead set on locking-up the former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). With stakes raised in a highly charged legal poker, he dug in his heels prompting then President Edgar Lungu to use findings of a hastily constituted tribunal to sack him. As they say the rest is history but history has an uncanny way of repeating itself.

For clarity, this discussion is not meant to cast aspersions on Nchito’s character, however you could argue that there are parallels to draw from his experience and the fate of the incumbent DPP, Lillian Siyuni. And if Nchito’s tribulation were a proxy, then it is indeed safe to gamble that Siyuni’s head is on a guillotine. It is just a matter of time before she walks but not without a fight.

At the center of this debacle, is the means through which she granted immunity from prosecution for alleged malfeasance to Milingo Lungu, the former liquidator of embattled mining group, KCM. Important to add, it is not for this discussion to pronounce on Siyuni’s innocence or guilt there-off but the fact that this matter is before courts naturally invokes the principle of subjudice.

Yet just like the biblical Pontius Pilate passed on the opportunity to save Jesus from crucifixion, the President, the Attorney General and the Justice Minister have all washed their hands off Siyuni. She is being hung out to dry. If in doubt about this assertion, let us take a step back to the President’s last briefing at State House. This was his response to a question regarding the DPP’s fate.

‘Who ever issued immunity to anybody is on their own,’ remarked the Head of state in nuanced undertones backing calls for Siyuni to be subjected to a hearing before the Judicial Complaints Commission (JCC). Whatever the argument, the wheels to sack Siyuni have long being in motion and the hearing in question is simply a ruse to justify her dismissal. What then is motivating this hasty decision to sack her?

The DPP’s office is a vital cog to a smooth functioning of Zambia’s criminal Justice system. In fact, the power to institute and undertake criminal proceedings is vested in this office. Its significance places Siyuni at the tip of the new government’s fight against corruption and other vices. Most of all, the President is aware of the enormous power this office wields which is why it is in his interest to have a pliant DPP.
Lessons from the past

Is it best practice for the Presidency to hold sway in the functioning of this office? Off course not. In any case how different is this coup d’etat which is in motion compared to the President’s decision to move the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to his office? It might well be correct to assume that Siyuni’s possible successor has already bought their suit and is now measuring the drapes of the DPP’s office in readiness for a swearing in ceremony at Community house.

Don’t forget, the previous dispensation was intentional in its decision to incapacitate the state’s prosecutorial capabilities. The end game was using these institutions to fix opponents and cower opposition to silence while looting state coffers. A pliant Head of Judiciary here and compromised Judges there, was the stratagem. That Mary Chirwa’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has no compelling evidence against any of the former government officials being arraigned before courts is telling of the efficacy of this strategy.

As they say, making allegations is easy but proving them is another. While possible that a few foot soldiers will end up wearing white khaki uniforms at Chimbokaila, it is likely that the big fish will walk free largely due to the sophistication of their schemes and incapacity of the state to deal with serious financial crimes.

That said, Siyuni is being sacrificed to make way for a user-friendly tool that will either be used to fix the former fixers and, in a way help to boost the new government’s waning fortunes in their fight against graft and other sophisticated commercial crimes. Not discounting the gravity of allegations levelled against her, it is deeply troubling that a government that has sworn to uphold the rule of law is slowly drowning in its own sea of inconsistencies.

It is John Sangwa SC who courteously counselled the incumbent President that the public and Parliament ought to have a sway in the appointment of the Chief Justice and heads of prosecutorial institutions. In principle, Sangwa’s counsel was premised on the need to maintain a people centric-Judiciary. Alas, his reasoning was rebuffed without interrogating the gist of his premonition.

Whatever happened to the much-pontificated rule of law, the imminent sacking of Siyuni will only serve to accelerate the slow decent to totalitarianism. But does this even bother the President that luminaries such as Sangwa and Father Telesphore Mpundu have jumped off the wagon that carried him to State House but has since made a de-tour to Community House? You wonder.
Koseni madam Siyuni.

The author is an avid reader of political history and philosophy. He is currently exploring options of launching a patented bi-monthly column aimed at further enhancing our political, economic, and social discourse. He only supports Liverpool naba Kabwe Warriors, kwamana. We appreciate both negative and positive feedback. Contact him us on [email protected]
*We do enjoy reading poems written by this kandile who also goes by various pseudonyms, HonestJohn, Chirwa and many others. My guy TarinoKwench, your envy is so enriching.

19 COMMENTS

  1. They want to replace her with a upnd t0nga sympathiser. They know that this woman will not stand for HHs corruption and dirty moves. Stay strong madam.

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  2. This article is subjudice as ialludes to the fate of the DPP. I’ll end by saying that it’s been established that the President assigned his senior advisers to negotiate that deal but changed his mind when he was misled by Muna Ndulo. I agree that Lillian is being sacrificed obviously because she’s viewed as a PF cadres

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  3. When people either disappeared or were found dead, I didn’t pay much attention. But now I realize how dirty political power is… it’s a matter of life and death.. it’s either you kill or you get killed.

    • Bwina nama……. ni eat dog eat dog. Politics is dirty and deadly!!! People have been killed or dissapeared. It was not by chance that some notable politicians were eliminated. There are always Mafias at play. They are organised gangs capable and ready to do anything to achieve their goals. They have no respect for life. And every political power that comes in govt creates its own behind the scenes mafias.
      Its all about money….not people!! People are just used as tools and stepping stones to get to power and money……. This world is dirty and merciless.

  4. Be bold,courageous and strong said God to Joshua,so madam as it was said to Joshua so it is said to you today be bold,courageous and strong dont fear God will vindicate you, if God be for you who can be against you God will fight for you keep forging ahead the truth will set you free and not lies.

  5. Is Zambia capable of having an independent powerful DPP? Is there a Zambian who can discharge the role of DPP without fear or favour? I believe that the answer to these questions is NO. Zambian governments and Zambian citizens are too compromised to do the right thing. This is our history from the day that Kenneth Kaunda allowed James Skinner to be nearly skinned alive by the UNIP Youth mob. In my view, we Zambian are incapable of being objective. We are all partisan, nepotistic and tribalistic as well as racist. There are very few Zambians who can allow their brother, sister or parent to face justice. I would like to suggest that Zambia looks outside within the Commonwealth for DPP, DEC and ACC chiefs.

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    • There are 20 million Zambians. However from a glance at about half a dozen of them you conclude that all Zambians are nepotistic, tribalistic and racist? So from this post one should conclude that all Zambians lack depth of thought, are frivolous and canternkerous?

    • I disagree sir, you cannot surely believe that there are no men and women in Zambia who can act independently and just.
      I refuse to believe that. Without trying to elevate anyone, John Sangwa failed his wife twice at ZIALE. First as a lecturer, second as an praise who thought she shouldn’t have passed her exam.
      That is intergrity, and he has shown time again that he is unafraid of speaking his mind irrespective of government.
      Interestingly, I applaud his refusal to serve in government.
      I use him as an example to show that there are people in Zambia who always stand upright, even when family is involved.
      And I do find it offensive that you assume we are all tribal and partisan. Your truth doesn’t apply to everyone else.

  6. Is she Charity or Lilian? Also if you know your colors you can’t have white Khaki. Could there be Green black?

  7. There are 20 million Zambians. However from a glance at about half a dozen of them you conclude that all Zambians are nepotistic, tribalistic and racist? So from this post one should conclude that all Zambians lack depth of thought, are frivolous and canternkerous?

  8. Where i do not understand certain things, things to do with Law i use logic. If New Dawn came into power accusing PF of corruption, its logical that a new DPP be sworn in together with the new government. Her office has dealt with questional judgements in the previous regime. Most of the PF top officials have had cases before August 2021 and after. Milingo Lungu is one case, Chitotela deal was done before the new dawn came to power. Its logical that the DPP should be answerable. So we want an independent DPP who can break the Law at will and not be answerable?

  9. Chimwemwe Mwanza if you really appreciate both negative and positive feedback then why are you turning your turent towards your readers and firing shots? I read the article and I was going to upgrade my grading to 8/10 from 3/10 I allocated you last week but then I read your sign off you calling me a “kandile” and accusing of using other pseudonyms, I dont have time and energy to use various pseudonyms simultaneously. You should thank me because you have improved your articles after my feedback. …I look forward to your patented bi-monthly columns.
    PS: Its not envy …its called putting a firecracker up your behind to pull up your socks!!

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