Saturday, July 20, 2024

I expected better things from the New Dawn government than what they are doing at the moment-Sangwa


Respected constitutional lawyer John Sangwa, State Council, has told the Mast Newspaper that he expected better things from the New Dawn government than what they are doing at the moment.

Mr. Sangwa said he expected a sense of urgency in developing the country as opposed to wasting time on what he termed as ‘nonsense’.

“You get disappointed because we should be doing better. If you ask me, I am disappointed, yes. I expected better than what we are seeing. What is even worse is when you use Edgar (Lungu) as your yardstick of performance,” Mr. Sangwa said.

“That is a tragedy. I am not a spring chicken. I am an old guy. My concept of time is not your concept of time but also the country is not young. You cannot be struggling to develop 58 years after independence. When are you going to develop? There is a sense of urgency so we should be dealing with constructive issues rather than the kind of nonsense that is going on.”

In the reference to the election saga in Kabushi and Kwacha Constituencies, Mr. Sangwa said the barring of candidates from standing in elections was unacceptable.

He said institutions like the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) cannot use the law to legislate against those they perceive as bad.

“There will always be people that will abuse things. It doesn’t then mean a provision is bad because it is open to abuse. No. You want to bar [Bowman] Lusambo and [Joseph] Malanji, why? There is no reason. In the case of Lusambo, it was that he was involved in violence and everything else. They said ‘we are nullifying you but does the law say he was disqualified? No. Did the court (Constitutional Court) say ‘because your seat has been nullified, you cannot contest again?’ The court never said that and in any case nobody went to court to ask the court to disqualify Lusambo, no. The issue was election to be nullified and the court pronounced on that. So we can’t begin to put in other things which the court did not say,” Sangwa said. “…you have your own Minister of Justice who comes and puts his own juvenile interpretation of the Constitution after a judgment. Who is he? Where does he derive the power to tell us what the Constitution should be? He is a civil servant. The eligibility issue is a party issue. You cannot use a government office to pass a party agenda. You can’t and these are the same things we were condemning (former president) Lungu for and they are doing exactly the same thing if not worse.”

Mr. Sangwa said it was wrong for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to use bogus interpretation of law to bar people from exercising their democratic right.

“You cannot prevent a candidate from taking part in an election through some bogus interpretation of the law on your own without the court pronouncing. You can’t. What should have happened is Lusambo and Malanji should have been allowed to file their papers and their papers should have been accepted and then allow anybody who is not happy, who believes they shouldn’t contest to challenge and go to court. In this case ECZ took a political stand. Instead of maintaining its neutrality, it now became an agent of UPND,” he said.

“And if the challenge succeeds or does not, you still have the voters – will still be able to cast their vote and tell you who they want and it happened with Lungu. We went to court…but the people said ‘we have the final say’. We sorted him out through the ballot but nobody prevented him from putting his name on the ballot.”

Mr. Sangwa said Zambians must not attack courts, judges and the Constitution because of those that wanted to abuse the law for selfish reasons.

“Even that same word lacuna, a lucuna presupposes that we know what the ideal constitution should be. It means we must judge our Constitution against another constitution. When you say there is a lucuna you are saying there is something missing. For example, how do I know there is a missing piece? Because science has proven that a normal human being has X number of teeth. A normal human being must have X number of ribs. Now the moment you have X less number of ribs it means there is something abnormal. Now tell me what is a normal constitution? Does anybody know what a normal constitution is? A constitution varies from country to country. So you can’t say the constitution has lacuna. What lacuna? There is no such thing as a lacuna in the constitution. You take it the way it was drafted and you work with it,” Mr. Sangwa said.

“The only thing we can do is to reach a stage where you say guys ‘we don’t think this Constitution is working for us’ or you say ‘we want to become a one party state’. The question is this Constitution can it support one party-state? If you conclude that no it can’t, then you change it so that it now supports a one-party-state. But you can’t say it has a lacuna. If the constitution is silent on something that is what was intended. That is the way it is designed.”

He added “we have to respect the Constitution because everyone will have his or her opinion as to what the Constitution should or not do.”

Mr. Sangwa warned: “The moment you depart from that you are breeding lawlessness.”


  1. In Zambia you support people whom you don’t even know. Some of us had interacted with several UPND leaders even at the highest level were able to notice their deficiencies way back. So it’s not a surprise that they’re incapable of many things. I doubt if they’ll manage another term in office

    • Complete rubbish MMD and PF wrote electoral law. The UPND merely implemented the law on the books, which until now had been used to persecute UPND only. Do not cry; all of you were happy when your tribesman Lungu abused these laws to his advantage. I personally hope that UPND does not change any of these laws but implements them to the full, so that people understand that the laws you write may come to persecute or prosecute you one day.

    • What Sangwa says makes sense. However, saying UPND will not manage another term is without much analysis. UPND are likely to win 2026.

    • ECZ needs an Overhaul, they are so useless that they want to go to bed with the Party in Power. Just hardly a year ago, they used to do everything in favour of PF. They even wanted to rig the election for Lungu. WE are tired of this nonsense and @ Sangwa, good write-up but don’t get disappointed with UPND but the Director General of ECZ. He should be fired.

  2. Ba=Sangwa you’re 100% correct. But with due respect, you were requested and offered a job so that you join the new dawn Government to help Govern this country according to your vision, but you declined. What type of a leader are you who can’t take responsibility? All we see is a leader who’s busy correcting others through a windscreen, why. All of us from a far, we were hopefully sure having had done for UPND whilst in opposition, when forming Government surely something will be given to this fearace gallant soldier of a Man. But you refused. Now today through the windscreen you start again lamenting from outside. Ba=Sangwa, you’re a good man join and advise better inside than what you’re doing. Don’t just be seen to be talking positively outside, but take responsibility. Please, we…

    • The disappointment I feel with people like you who think Sangwa was *fighting for the UPND*. There is such a thing as having intergrity and standing for justice. He fought because he believed in better, he didn’t need a job, and he does not need one now.
      Allow him to point out the wrongs of the UPND as he did in the PF. People listen to Sangwa, in his own way, he is contributing to our democracy by providing valuable checks and balances.
      Had he been in government and doing this, he would be accused of insubordination and cadres would call for his firing, and he would be dragged before courts.

    • You don’t come out and repair stuff as a hurricane hits land.
      You don’t join overwhelming incompetence when you can see it from afar. It’s better to watch it self-destruct then you step in and rectify things.

  3. The Problem with most us Zambians we hate people who speak the truth I have a lot of respect for John Sangwa for fighting to defend the constitution and for fighting what is right for the country and also for showing his love for our mother country even refusing a government position.He is true Patriot.HH believes he is the only intelligent man in zambia and no one can advise him how to run the country and as a result his ministers are quite and scared to talk only speak to protect there positions and not serve the people who voted them in power

  4. State counsel Sangwa.You should have stated that you expected better arguements about the constitution rather than insinuating that evrything the New Dawn government has done in a year is none sense.To urgue that we should not use the PF reign as a yardstick to measure our progress is to grossly under appreciate the depth of the social psychological.economic,moral and political damage that PF wrought on Zambia.It is a classic example of how not to run a country..The developmental foundamentals of the UPND have been praised across a broad spectrum of the world including those who taught you how to thik=nk
    I understand your sense of urgency because you dispair that you are growing old and cannot wait for the change you want.Believe me you are still young.Think about your next geheration…

    • ….Think about your next generation,also.HH is an enigma and his ideas are way ahead of his time.My worry is that he will grossly be misunderstood evenamongnst his supporters,and like Kaunda,Nkrumah and Sankara we risk throwing away the baby together withthe bath water.
      I still respect you

    • the depth of the social psychological.economic,moral and political damage that PF wrought on Zambia. Stop mindless mourning they left you with plenty of positive landmarks from which you can progress but you want to keep having excuses therefore mourning about PF is a good diversion from the real problem. The real problem is UPND having no plans!

  5. Mr. Sangwa, you are a lawyer by profession. Mr. Bowman Lusambo created a parliamentary vacancy in Kabushi constituency because he was found guilty of criminal offenses of violence and intimidation during campaigns.

    While Mr. Malanji created a parliamentary vacancy in Kwacha constituency because he was found guilty of a criminal offense of forging a grade 12 certificate during his nomination.

    In the layman’s language, both Lusambo and Mulamje are criminals and should not be allowed to represent those constituencies.
    Is Zambia, really short of men and women of integrity, who can represent them in parliament?
    Mr. Sangwa, sir, if you want to become a politician, publicly declare your interest instead of hiding yourself behind the pajamas of a lawyer.

    • You should not twist things. Malanjis election was petitioned because of alleged malpractices. The petitioners witness failed to support this petitioner and from nowhere the judge changed the case to that of grade 12 certificate.
      For your information Malanji has eight O Levels which is more than required for grade 12 certificate.

  6. LOL. Malanji was found guilty of having forged a grade 12 certificate? And this led to his seat being nullified?
    Be serious, speak from facts and be objective.
    And pointing out some of the wrongs of the UPND means he is a politician who must ‘declare himself as a politician and stop hiding behind the pajamas of a lawyer’?
    The disappointment I feel.

  7. Sangwa speaks sense. The response here is senseless because it’s out to show that HH is flawless. He dropped from heaven with his millions. We can only suck up to him to have a share. What a useless bunch of cohorts. They need to go live with HH in Community house and sing praises every morning to their King. In a democracy we need a leader who can be corrected

  8. only useful I D I O T S will argue with You Ba Sangwa.. Funny how these D I M W I T S thing everyone who spoke of the PF ills were tu UPND.

  9. Every lawyer says, ‘go to court’ because that is how they make their money. How many people can afford to pay lawyer bills in Zambia. Zambian law is only for the rich.

  10. It is healthy to have such discourse because that’s how a democracy is built and strengthened. But let us remove emotion in such discourse for us to grow democratically as well as improve the clarity of our constitution.
    We are discussing these issues as Zambians for our long term benefit. Sangwa is simply giving all of us his position in clarifying issues. Don’t demonize him or personalize his views.

  11. This chap has made very interesting points. Except that he keeps mentioning my president ECL.
    We warned that the opposition prior to 2021 elections were ineffective and inexperienced, you still thought they would be better.
    For us, nothing is new here. They are as they have always been. A bunch of embarrassing failures. Misleaders and misinformers.

  12. The gentleman is introduced as a “Respected constitutional lawyer and State Council”
    The inference therefore he is intelligent. However, I find his comments to be anything but intelligent.
    Let’s take his statement, “I expected better things from the New Dawn government than what they are doing at the moment”.
    Yet, he fails to tell us what are the better things he is or was expecting
    Could his expectations including any of the following:
    • More teachers
    • More health workers
    • A higher rate of inflation
    • Depreciation of the currency
    • A lowering or abolition of the CDF
    • More corruption
    • Pensioners not being paid
    • Failure to implement free education
    My point is, if you are going to say I expected more, then state which of your expectations have not been met. WORDS ARE…

  13. My point is, if you are going to say I expected more, then state which of your expectations have not been met. WORDS ARE CHEAP.
    Regarding ECZ, the people there have an interpretation of the law and made their decision.
    Now upon appeal the high court judges who are legal experts, have a different interpretation and they being ultimate arbiters gave a judgement. In most normal law-abiding countries that happens.
    Why all the song and dance. What does the president have to do with.
    You all need to act as grown-ups, like the president is doing


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