Author Archives: Elias Munshya, LLB (Hons), MA., M.Div.

Ntambalukuta, Please Pray For Us: An open letter to Kenneth David Kaunda

E. Munshya, LLM, M.Div.

Kuli ba Kaunda, Intanshi mutende!

Kenneth David Kaunda

Kenneth David Kaunda

Thank you for the speech you gave on Africa Freedom Day, 25 May 2015. On that day, the president of our republic, Edgar Chagwa Lungu decided, for some reason to give you an honour and recognition of “Founding Father of Zambia”. I am still not too clear about what that means exactly. I have always thought that you are the father of Zambia, to some extent. You helped lead this Northern Rhodesia to independence, combined it with Barotseland and named the territory Zambia. For that, I thought you needed no formal recognition since history itself will always recognize you as deserving of that honour. I am also reminded that it is actually the MMD’s Levy Patrick Mwanawasa who honoured you with the highest honour in our land by conferring upon you the distinction of Grand Commander of the Eagle of Zambia, First Division. In that regard you stand in a class of your own.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

Many received your May 25 speech with a lot of joy and gladness. For those of us who hold African traditions dearly, we interpreted your speech as a way to bless your children. We took it as a way to bless your grandchildren and speak well of their future. Literally, at 91, Ntambalukuta you belong to the top 0.1% of our population. God has been good to you. For some evangelicals, your speech was also intercessory. You stood in the gap for Zambia to release “its people and the presidency from every negative forces made against Zambia.” You also submitted “souls now living and those that will be born later to the salvation and Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Father.” These are very deep words. They are very powerful. To me you sounded like you have now returned to the faith of your father, David, who was one of the first African missionaries to evangelize the modern day Zambia. Even if you claimed in your 1973 book, Letter to my Children, that you found your fathers’ faith not as satisfying, it seems from the 2015 Africa Day speech that you have wholly returned. And for that, I must thank you for making the deep personal recommitment to the God of David Kaunda, that great Malawian evangelist. You, Ntambalukuta, have preached just like David Kaunda would have preached.

The Faith of David Kaunda

The Faith of David Kaunda

Ntambalukuta, perhaps with the awareness of our common mortality, I notice in your speech that you declared, “Zambia shall forever enjoy tranquility and remain a united and peaceful people under the motto: One Zambia, One Nation”. These words are also deep. Well done. You see, perhaps, that the greatest legacy you want to leave for Zambians is that legacy of a “One Zambia, One Nation” motto. Beyond, this declaration though, it is important that you try to help the nation settle the Barotseland issue. Do not just make spiritual declarations; it would be good for you to facilitate a peaceful discussion with some of our citizens who believe that you gave them a raw deal in 1965 and beyond.

Without burdening you further, Kanabesa, I would like to ask that you continue to pray for us. I have a few prayer requests to present to you. It is your wish that this nation continues subsisting in peace. You have also prayed that our country remains under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Your speech is very similar to the discourse your successor Frederick Chiluba made when he declared Zambia as a Christian nation two months after defeating you in the 1991 elections. In fact, I am wondering whether you had a little help from Chiluba’s speechwriters.

As a father who fought for independence and ruled our country, your prayers have more gravitas than those done by the many foreign prophets who are ever so eager to drop a few lines about Zambia. So please, Ntambalukuta, pray for us.

  • Pray for us so that we are delivered from the spirit of kaloba. Kanabesa, as things stand now, the destiny of this country is being mortgaged at a rate we have never known before. Very soon we are likely to be a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) again, if we continue this senseless nkongole. Please help us pray for our nation so that we get delivered from the spirit of shylocks.
  • Pray for us so that we stop leaders from stealing. Our country has never lacked prayer warriors. We have plenty of them. In fact, by use of television satellites we have preachers beaming live prophecies meant for the president and his cabinet. More than just these prayers, Kanabesa we need deliverance from theft and corruption. Help us pray that President Lungu will not steal money from the treasury. Please help us pray that President Lungu, his cabinet and their children will not help themselves freely from the sweat of taxpayers. Kenneth Kaunda, pray for us.
  • Ntambalukuta, you have declared great unity and freedom for Zambians. There is a demon we need deliverance from that is closely connected to your wishes. It is known as the “Public Order Act”. Kanabesa, I do not need to preach to you about it, because this is a spirit you know very well. In fact, you inherited it from the colonialists. You used it very well through your time as president. Your successor, Chiluba, also used it against you. The current president, and your son, Bo Lungu is still using it greatly to curtail the free exercise of constitutional liberties. Bo Hichilema, another of your sons, cannot visit Milenge or Kanyama without a police permit from Bo Libongani. Please pray for us, as this is unacceptable. I hope you too will realise how unjust it is for Zambians to get permits to visit Bauleni.
  • During the 2015 Good Friday weekend, police futilely invaded church services in Lusaka searching for “illegal” immigrants. We protested against this action. Please pray for us that President Lungu will respect constitutional liberties, particularly the freedom to worship the Lord to whom you have dedicated this country. Arresting illegal immigrants while they are worshipping is an abuse of state power.

I have a lot of prayer requests, Kanabesa. But for now, let me end here and continue working for the great future of this country you founded. In a little way, by asking the presidency to adhere to the rule of law, I feel like I will be making real your wishes and your prayers for a greater Zambia. Ntambalukuta, pray for us.

Naleka nine,

Munshya wa Munshya

Ntambalukuta

Ntambalukuta

One Zambia One Kapokola: Hichilema, Edgar Lungu and the defence of democratic freedoms

 E. Munshya, LLM, M.Div.

Hakainde Hichilema can be quite upsetting sometimes. Just when President Lungu is trying to settle in his presidency, there appears Hakainde Hichilema making it difficult for President Edgar Lungu to shine. Just a few days after an increase in the price of paraffin, petrol and diesel, HH took it upon himself to “rub it in” by going into our compounds and meet the people that are directly affected by the increase in fuel prices. Hakainde Hichilema’s message seems to be simple; he is going into Bauleni, Kanyama and Mandevu to try and explain to the people what his UPND party stands for and what it can do. He is also claiming that he is visiting compounds to get in touch with the alleged suffering of ordinary citizens. Doing so does seem to be a great effort on his part. He has to leave the incredible comfort of his multi-billion-kwacha house to visit with the everyday people.

Politician and businessman Hakainde Hichilema is a member of the SDA church

Hakainde Hichilema 

Hakainde’s visits are quite damaging to the “Ifintu ni Lungu” government. In fact, regardless of who was president, it would still be hard and challenging for them. But unless HH commits a crime, he has every right to visit any compounds in our country. HH has every right to go to Milenge, visit Mongu, cycle in Chadiza, drive in Chazanga, or “gandula” in Katete. Zambia belongs to HH as much as it belongs to President Lungu. President Lungu does not own Zambia more than HH does. As such, it is quite ridiculous and absolutely unacceptable for the Zambia Police to use force to prevent HH and his sympathizers from going to meet with ordinary people in the compounds. With due respect to the Police commander of Lusaka, she was wrong to hold that HH needed police clearance to go to Mandevu. Actually, not even the Public Order Act gives police the powers to stop a citizen of our republic from visiting Chawama, Bauleni or Kanyama. Requiring police permission to go to SOWETO market belongs to the old and tired regime more barbaric than our times.

Lusaka Police Commissioner Charity Katanga

Lusaka Police Commissioner Charity Katanga

The said police commanding officer is not a typical “kapokola”. She is an educated young woman with academic and professional credentials that are an envy to many. And yet in spite of all these credentials she still went on to infringe the free rights of a citizen of our republic. Zambia is not a police state. Zambia is not a military state. We do not need permission from the security forces to enjoy the liberties of “amayendele”. I must appeal to the Lungu government to be reasonable in the exercise of their power. Just a few weeks ago, the Police and Immigration Zambia raided churches and disrupted worship services in the name of enforcing immigration laws. I objected to that action. Today, they are now stopping citizens from visiting compounds unless they have prior police permission to do so. We all should find such action to be absolutely unacceptable in a free nation. Abena Zambia tebasha iyo who need to check in with slave-masters before going to the market to buy tomatoes.

Democracy flourishes in an environment of voluntary competition. Politicians must market themselves freely. It is the people of Zambia who would ultimately pick the winner. While we can only have one president at a time, this should not be taken to mean that once a person becomes president, they must then infringe on the rights of others to aspire for the presidency. As long as Zambia remains a democracy, we shall always have people envying Plot 1. That is a fundamental issue we cannot derogate from. For people to wish they were in Plot 1 and for people to aspire for Plot 1, they must do so in a way that is both democratic and reasonable. As such, the police services should not be seen as hindering that natural democratic liberty.

Zambia isn't a police state - Munshya

Zambia isn’t a police state – Munshya

If we are saying that we are One Zambia One Nation, there is no better way to demonstrate our unity, than by giving space to each other. Even if it inconveniences us, democratic ideals must be followed to the letter. This is more reason why we should all express our displeasure at some innuendos from the ruling party that seem to suggest that Zambia should become a one-party state. Wynter Kabimba as Secretary General of the Patriotic Front several times intimated that Zambia was going to become a one-party state. But where is Wynter now? He is promptly head of a political party called Rainbow Party. I wonder what could have happened to the colours in his Rainbow had the PF remained the sole party in our republic. Just as we condemned Wynter then, we do condemn senior members of the PF who are currently promoting a one-party state. This perhaps could explain the reason why the police are so hard on Hakainde Hichilema. Is it a plot to usher in a one-party state?

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

I believe very sincerely that Zambians do not want a one-party state. I believe that Zambians want to listen to all politicians so that they can make up their minds about whom to vote for. I believe that all this talk about a return to a one-party state is nothing but noisy hullabaloo that would lead to nowhere. I also believe that once we hold true to our promise of democracy we will find it appropriate to let politicians campaign freely without let or hindrance. I have great faith in the Zambian people. In next year’s election, the people of Zambia will be given another opportunity to choose a leader. This year, they went for Lungu. And I am one of those that supported Lungu’s candidature. This is how democracy should work. I trust the people of Zambia to make an informed choice about their future next year. In order to do so, the people of Zambia should be allowed access to Hakainde and to the many others aspiring for the presidency. Chaining HH just doesn’t make sense at all. The Police should respect the Zambian people to make informed choices about their future. We don’t need ba kapokola to make choices for us or to prevent us from making a particular choice. Long live our republic, and may God bless it faithfully.

From Kasonde to Kafwaya: Debunking the myth that “old people” rule Zambia

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

The honorable Dr. Joseph Kasonde was born in 1938, his youngest counterpart in the legislature, Hon. Dawson Kafwaya, was only born in 1984. Between these two years is a spectrum of the ages of the current members of the Zambian parliament. Perhaps the most dominant myth to grace our politics in Zambia, is this persistent notion that “tired”, “old” and “finished” politicians rule our republic. This myth drives some of our youth to desire a political revolution that will usher in the “young” generation. There is no doubting that the Zambian population is very young. Our median age is 16. With a life expectancy of about 50, improving from the time we got serious with condoms, over half of Zambians are below the age of 20. At my age, I am older than about 75% of all Zambians. Some Canadians find it rather amusing when they learn that at my young age, I am quite a madala in Zambian terms.

The greatest threat to our national development is neither old age nor young-age, but it is theft, bribery, corruption and nepotism. It is ridiculous to think or even imagine that our senior citizens of our republic are the main reason why we are not performing well as a country. The call for a younger political generation is insufficient, by itself, to take us to the Promised Land. Zambia needs a balance of age so that the promise of youth is balanced by the strength of old age. Our problem really is not that we have too many old people in our politics; in fact, we do not have too many old people in our politics. We probably have very few of them.

When some Zambians demand for young people to take over our politics, it is important to define what “young” means and what is “old”. I will take it that all those born in the decade of Zambia’s independence are young, while those born before independence are “old”. If we used this as a mechanism, we will find that in actual fact, the Zambian parliament is relatively young.

Of all the 159 Members of Parliament in Zambia, I had age data access to about 132 of them. Only two of the 132 MPs were born in 1938: Alexander Chikwanda and Dr. Kasonde. They are both 77 years old. Members of Parliament born in the 1940s include: Wina (1941), Lingweshi (1941), Lungu (1943), Willombe (1943), Scott (1944), Kazabu (1945), Chanda (1946), Chituwo (1947), Kawandami (1947), Kaunda (1947), Limata (1948), H. Mwanza (1949), Kapaya (1949), Mooya (1949) and Phiri (1949).

Members of Parliament born in the 1950s are twenty-six. I will mention only but a few. Chifumu Banda, Mutale, J. Lungu, and Shamenda were born in 1950. They are 64 years old. Imenda, Kazunga and Luo were born in 1951. Kaingu, Yaluma, and Muntanga were born in 1952. Katuka and Chipungu were both born in 1953 while Simbyakula was born in 1954. Munshya, Muchima, and Lufuma were born in 1957. The following five were born in 1959: Mutati, GBM, Mwimbu, Matibini, and Matafwali.

Dr. Joseph Kasonde

Dr. Joseph Kasonde

From the figures I have presented above, only 43 of the 132 MPs, I analysed, were born before 1960. Contrary to some perception that we do have a lot of “old” people in our politics, a bulk of Zambian politicians are actually, 50 years old or younger. They were born after 1960. Specifically, fifty-five of the current MPs were born in the decade between 1960 and 1969. Thirty-three were born in the 1970s. Dawson Kafwanka of Solwezi is the only MP born in the 1980s. Born in 1984, he is the youngest member of the current national assembly. Additionally, Kafwanka is the only MP who does not meet the requisite minimum age to qualify as a presidential candidate. In Zambia a presidential candidate must be at least 35 years old.

Those born in the 1960s have the distinction of being politically vocal and controversial. Another analysis should be done as to why this is so. It is from this group where we find the most presidential aspirants. I think this is the group that feels like they are “true” Zambians mostly born after independence. Simuusa (1962), Lubinda (1963), Mukanga (1965), Nkombo (1965) and Kambwili (1969) have all been floated as possible presidential contenders. It remains to be seen how far this group will go. All of Zambia’s presidents so far, were all born before 1960: Kaunda, Chiluba, Levy, RB, Sata and now Lungu. Presidential contenders Hakainde Hichilema and Nevers Mumba were both born after 1960.

Members of Parliament born in the 1970s look like they will shape the future of Zambian politics. It is from this list where we have the likes of Cornelius Mweetwa (1976), Miles Sampa (1970), Harry Kalaba (1976), Levy Ngoma (1975), Dr. Chilufya (1972), Habeenzu (1973) and Vincent Mwale (1978). It is also quite interesting to note that ten youngest members of this present parliament are either ministers or highflying members of their party parliamentary caucuses.

Dawson Kafwaya

Dawson Kafwaya

In addressing the age of MPs, we must deal with the longevity of individual MPs in parliament as well. Experience is important for an institution such as the National Assembly. The Republic of Zambia is only 50 years old, and yet most of the MPs we actually have in parliament have only been in parliament since the year 2000. In our desire to push for youth, we must not neglect the importance of institutional memory. Chikwanda was an MP for a few years in the 1970s and apart from him, no one of his current colleagues have that distinction. Our parliament is not only young, but it could also be short on institutional memory. Scott and a few others were MPs in the 1990s, but that is just about it.

From Kasonde to Kafwaya, we need to take our national rhetoric beyond the age of our politicians to asking important questions about integrity, values, and commitment to liberties. I really do not care how old an MP is, as long as they will not steal from the tax payers. Theft, and not age, is my greatest concern about politicians. And as one prophet said: “age aint nothin’ but a number.”

Converting 1 Million Baptisms Into Votes: An analysis of the political theology of the SDA Church in Zambia

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

We all must congratulate the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Zambia for its one-millionth baptism. Since its establishment in Zambia, the church baptized its one-millionth member in April 2015. While this feat has not been easy, it has demonstrated the resiliency and faithfulness of one of Zambia’s most widespread churches. The celebrations themselves were politically marred by a miscalculation of who should have greeted whom, and who avoided greeting whom. But beyond that, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church must be celebrated and commended.

Members of the SDA can be found in business, politics, government, science, health care and other aspects of our national life. In spite of a very socially and politically active membership, what is really surprising with the SDA church ecclesial leadership is just how it has managed to stay apolitical and politically ambivalent in a nation that has increasingly blurred the church-state divide. Why is it that in spite of its political clout, the ecclesial leadership of the SDA has stayed above the political fray?

The role that the Christian churches have played in the life of Zambian nation has only come to considerable academic attention very recently. Perhaps due to Marxist philosophies of the first and second republics, Zambian academics did not pay much attention to the role that religion in general, and Christianity in particular, had played in the life of the nation. Unlike its neighbours, it is curious to note that Zambia’s first public universities completely ignored faculties of theology and religion. After the fall of Kaunda, however, the critical role that the church has played in the political processes of Zambia is now being taken seriously academically.

The academic study of church-state relations in Zambia has very frequently been evaluated mostly from the perspectives of the Roman Catholic Church (through the Zambia Episcopal Conference), the evangelical churches (through the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia) and the other mainline denominations that are members of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ). Specifically, when church-state relations are discussed in Zambia, they are often discussed in the context of how the political establishment has related to the Catholics, the evangelicals and the CCZ. At least three religious organisations have been ignored: the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the SDA, and the New Apostolic Church of Zambia.

According to Dr. Isaac Phiri (1996; 1998; 2001), the church in Zambia becomes more politically active to fill an occasional void left by a weak civil society. What drives the Zambian churches’ tone in their dealings with the state according to Dr. Phiri has got to do with whether there are other voices that are speaking for the population or not. If there is a vibrant civil society, the Zambian church does not routinely participate or interfere in politics. Dr. Phiri’s thesis could be true if applied to the political participation of the so-called mother bodies: the EFZ, the ZEC, and the CCZ. Dr. Phiri’s dissertation did not explore the reasons behind the apolitical stance taken by either the Seventh-Day Adventist Church or the New Apostolic Church. The SDA church does not concern itself with political matters even when there is a weak civil society, like other churches routinely do. We must investigate why this is so.

To be very clear, the SDA has been involved, very heavily, in providing solutions to the social-humanitarian issues affecting Zambians. They have erected schools, built hospitals, directed HIV/AIDS interventions and initiated several other initiatives. A few years ago, the SDA even established a university, now called Rusangu University. This goes to show that the SDA is quite aware and very involved in the social-humanitarian issues affecting Zambia. But what is lacking in the social-humanitarian stance of the SDA is the church’s complete apathy towards the political question. Why don’t SDA leaders use their numbers or political clout?

Politician and businessman Hakainde Hichilema is a member of the SDA church

Politician and businessman Hakainde Hichilema is a member of the SDA church

Roman Catholics have undoubtedly openly used their political clout to influence politics in Zambia. The ZEC issues pastoral letters frequently. From the Kaunda days to the present, there is no doubting the political weight and influence of the Church of Rome. The noisy Pentecostals have made their clout felt as well. With the new phenomenon of the Major Prophets, Pentecostal preachers have acquired new levels of political outspokenness keen on changing the political landscape of Zambia through national and trans-national political “prophecies”. The same can be said of members of the CCZ. Member denominations of the CCZ have very frequently made their minds known about politics. What you will never hear is the political opinions from the SDA church leaders, why is it so?

Some answers to this question could be found from the central teachings of the SDA church. While the SDA’s 28 Statements of the SDA’s Fundamental Beliefs call for a church that is acutely aware of its evangelical, missionary and social-humanitarian mandates, there is no clear direction of how the church should respond politically within the 28 Statements.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church

However, the official church document on church-state relations appears to address this political question quite adequately. It states the following: Adventists “must remain ever mindful of the dangers that are associated with religious influence on civil affairs and assiduously avoid such dangers. When Adventists become leaders or exert influence in their wider society, this should be done in a manner consistent with the golden rule.” The official document continues to state that the Adventists “should not, however, become preoccupied with politics, or utilize the pulpit or our publications to advance political theories”.

President Lungu greets Edith Nawakwi at an SDA event

President Lungu greets Edith Nawakwi at an SDA event

It appears that the SDA church leaders in Zambia have followed the official church document on church-state relations to the letter. Their absence from the political fray has definitely been deafening. In spite of the temptation for the church to stray into the political arena, the leaders have exercised a lot of restraint. The official document does seem to suggest that the SDA church could speak out only if religious liberty is at stake. With one million members on its books, the SDA church has demonstrated that a church can exist and have tremendous political clout without having to fray into the political arena. There is more to church life than political involvement. If the Catholic Church and evangelicals have shown a more politically involved consciousness, it is fascinating to note the SDA model that has remained apolitical. Zambia is bigger and greater because of the religious diversity in the nation. In that sense, the SDA should be more than welcome to the table of our national conversations even if they will have nothing to say when the political dialogues get boiling.

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Suggested Citation:

Munshya, E. (2015). Converting 1 Million Baptisms Into Votes: An analysis of the political theology of the SDA Church in Zambia. Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org) (7 May 2015)

A Post-Africanist view on South African Xenophobia

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Truth is the greatest antidote to error. The pain of truth is far more desirable than the comfort of lies and deception. It is better to build a continent or nations on a foundation of truth than try to build a people on false assumptions. For many years, Africans have been trying to live under a false conjecture that they are a united people. The pressure to try and appear to be united manifests itself in the senseless penchant for blood. What we see in South Africa today is terrible. But it is not new. Africans all over the continent have been butchering each other like senseless beasts. We must not pretend like South Africa is the only problem. The very foreigners being butchered by South Africans have been butchering one another in the countries they come from: Somalia, Congo, Rwanda, and Eritrea to mention a few. An answer to the problem of Xenophobia in Africa requires some honest soul-searching. It must demand some analysis, some deep questions. We must earnestly abandon, the false philosophies of a “united” people and adopt a worldview that is more attuned to African realities.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

Just a few months ago, the people of South Sudan, fresh from independence, started to slaughter each other. The Angolan government has taken an anti-Congo stance that is so ridiculous that it has led the Ba Kongo people into a senseless xenophobic hatred between those that belong to Angola and those that belong to the Congo-Kinshasa. In the 1990s, Katanga governor Kyungu wa Kumwanza introduced the kuba telemusha doctrine in which the Luba-Kasai were ordered deported from Katanga so that they could return to their native Kasai region. The Bemba-speaking peoples of Katanga were among the people groups that participated in this ethnic cleansing. To date, Wa Kumwanza has not answered for his crimes. In Cote D’Ivoire, there is always a tension between northerners and southerners and between those that believe are genuine Ivorians against those believed to be of foreign origin. We have no space here to mention the struggles of Rwanda and Burundi. As for Somalia, the country remains ungovernable today due to the various warlords that have each claimed a chunk of the capital and the territory. In fact, someone has observed the more ethnically homogenous an African society is, the more likely it is to face serious political instability of murderous proportions. In Central African Republic, the Africans are killing each other, tribe against tribe, religions against religion, and vice-versa.

Cecil Rhodes is the patron saint of Pan-Africanism

Cecil Rhodes is the patron saint of Pan-Africanism

To address the issue of all this xenophobia, Africans must adopt new ways of thinking. The philosophical underpinnings and aspirations of the African continent must begin shifting. Africans must give up the burden of trying to be united. They must admit that they are diverse and different. The aspiration of being “one and united” people has created such a psychological obstruction for the African mind. From the time Cecil Rhodes proclaimed a united Africa from Cape to Cairo, Africans have not given up on this Rhodesian dream. The African needs some truth. And acknowledging that we are not “one” is the first step to healing. We are different. We could have the same colour of skin, and live on the same geographical mass called “Africa”, but we must acknowledge that we are a divided and diverse peoples. This acknowledgement has got to be the new foundation upon which we could build new stories and narratives that would help rather than distract Africa. The more we tell each other that we are “one” people, the more conflicts we have. Let us give up this lofty dream that is so unrealistic. Let us accept and embrace our differences no matter where those differences come from. Diversity and difference is, to some extent, socially constructed. As such, it does not matter how we classify ourselves, once we acknowledge these classes it could be the beginning point for healing.

President Zuma

President Zuma

After we acknowledge how different we are from each other, we must then, ask ourselves, how should I treat the person who is different from me? Should I kill another simply because they are different from me? Does “difference” provide me with a reason to kill another? There is power in “difference”, regardless of how we have come to conceptualize that difference. But the acknowledgement of difference must submit to higher values. And these values have more to do with how I handle the person that has been labeled or the person I have labeled as different. We need a philosophy of hospitality: an attitude to the strangers.

We need to realise that people do not need to become like “us” in order for them to escape our killing. The problem in South Africa is not the “us” problem, it is the issue to do with how different South Africans should treat the many different Africans, and how the many different Africans should treat the South Africans. Should they kill the other simple because she is the “other”? Africans need now embrace Post-Africanism. In Post-Africanism, we are not afraid to embrace difference.

As a post-Africanist, I am delivered from the burden of trying to push unity upon a continent that has never and would never be united. Instead, post-Africanism reaffirms the truth from Jesus Christ: “do unto others what you would love them do unto you”. Post-Africanism acknowledges the diversity of the African peoples. It sees this diversity as a strength not a weakness. It sees tribes, nationalities, and shades of blackness as a true strength of the African peoples. Post-Africanism then challenges these different peoples, to treat each other with utmost respect and love for the other. Doing so is truly liberating. You are no longer trying to force unity. You are no longer trying to disingenuously claim “oneness” with a people that are different from you. Instead, post-Africanism takes you towards hospitality. It makes you treat a Somali, a Bemba, a Xhosa, a Barotse, a Biafran, a Shangaan, a Kasai, just like you would want to be treated. It is this post-African hospitality that might just help and save Africans from butchering each other to extinction. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Liberty Defiled: President Lungu must stop police from invading church services

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

The wisdom of the ages is strikingly clear. According to Pope Celestine I, “we are deservedly to blame if we encourage error by silence.” The manifestation of tyranny is always subtle. Oppression, no matter how heinous, usually does have trifling beginnings. Those who end up being oppressors frequently never plan to. They become tyrants by the deafening silence of the disaffected. When the state acts to violate the inviolable rights of its citizens, it usually does so by abusing legitimate legal power. State violation of human liberty, is rarely about whether the state has the power or authority to punish the wrongdoer but about the processes followed when punishing such a wrongdoer. It doesn’t matter the motives of the state, if its actions have the effect of eroding constitutional liberties we must as a people hold such a state to lawful accountability.

President Lungu

President Lungu

To keep good order in our republic, security agencies must be allowed to use force, but this force must be reasonable. The nature of humanity sometimes calls for the use of force more often than satisfies our comfort. The Zambian state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that those that live in Zambia, citizens or otherwise, follow the law in the conduct of their personal affairs. To keep the peace is a sacred duty of citizen and alien alike. However, if peace is threatened, or if criminals begin abusing the peace of our country, then the security agencies are justified in taking appropriate and reasonable action to redress the harm. The key here is that force must be both “appropriate” and “reasonable”. The use of police power should be balanced by a respect for constitutional liberties. It is these constitutional liberties that act as a milieu in checking the abuse of state assets. Our constitution stipulates what the state can do and cannot do when it is using force. Police cannot just begin shooting thieves on the streets; neither should they mount roadblocks anywhere and everywhere.

In Zambia’s constitutional structure, bullets and bombs held by our militaries cannot be triggered or activated without consent from our elected politicians. Patience is the virtue of force. Bullets have no minds of their own. Bombs would love to boom, but before they do, the decision to have them explode must be made by rational civilian representatives. Soldiers, paramilitaries and all the forces in our country are under civilian supervision for political accountability. The Zambia Police and the Zambia Immigration are accountable to our elected officials, and the elected officials are, in turn, directly accountable to the civilian population. To abuse the military, the police or the immigration officers is an insult on the revered integrity of the Zambian people. Zambia is a democracy; it is not a military dictatorship and neither is it a police state. Both the President of our republic and the Minister of Home Affairs are directly accountable to the people in the way the security forces deploy force. There is no such thing as absolute freedom, just as there is no such thing as absolute state power. To deviate from our democratic system is to invite danger and court trouble. After defeating the Kaunda dictatorship in 1991, our people should not accede to the return of despotism.

Police Inspector-General Stella Libongani

Police Inspector-General Stella Libongani

In meeting a legitimate state objective, Zambia’s department of Immigration and Police over the weekend raided a church service and detained its worshippers. Congregants of the Swedish Pentecostal Church were to be released only after they showed their immigration status. Apparently, the police and the Registrar of Societies had been closely watching this church. Listening to the immigration department spokesperson, you would see that the state did seem to have a genuine objective in trying to stop illegal immigrants. But this is only but a part of the story. The state as, I have mentioned above, has a duty to be reasonable, proportionate and sensible in the way it deploys force. What is offensive with the action of the police is the chilling effect that such operations have on the constitutional liberties of the people. The Zambians’ freedom to worship is sacrosanct. Sending armed police to a church service is disproportionate and, at worst, unjustifiable in a democracy. Couldn’t the state have found a better way to address the illegal immigrant problem than raiding a church while a service is occurring? A typical church service in Zambia doesn’t last more than four hours. Couldn’t the police have waited until the service was over?

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

The police command have a choice about how they will use their arresting powers. The police power of arrest or detention is not a demon that manifests at an inappropriate time demanding a knee-jerk reaction from officers. It is not an uncontrollable beast that can only be tamed after it has drunk the blood of its victims. Rather, the power to arrest is to be deployed in such a way as to accord and respect basic liberties of the people. Respect for basic human liberties makes legal state action lawful; any disrespect for liberty makes legal state action unlawful. If the police have a choice between arresting people before, during, or after a church service, both common sense and law demand that they do so in a way that is least disruptive of constitutional liberties. The police must be sensitive to what we hold dear as a Christian nation. Church services are cherished by the soul of this nation. There is absolutely no justifiable reason, no existential threat, which a church service poses that should justify a paramilitary invasion. To say that the police can follow crimes wherever they want, whether it is in a church or otherwise, is plain nonsense. The police are constitutionally constrained in the use of power. They can’t just show up anywhere and everywhere in the name of policing. They should not just enter any church and disrupt a service on the pretext of arresting illegal immigrants. Immigration officers cannot just be detaining people simply because they have a legitimate reason to do so. It is liberty that gives legitimacy.

If a church service of the Swedish Pentecostal Church is not respected today, there is no guarantee that a mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church will be esteemed tomorrow. I request President Lungu and his cabinet to direct the police to delicately balance the use of force against the constitutionally enshrined respect for religious expression.

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Suggested Citation:

Munshya, E. (2015). Liberty Defiled: President Lungu must stop police from invading church services. Elias Munshya Blog (www.eliasmunshya.org) 10 April 2015

Wrong General?: Linda Kasonde’s opposition to appointment of Likando Kalaluka as Attorney General

E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

President Lungu in exercise of his power has appointed a Mr. Likando Kalaluka as Attorney General of the Republic of Zambia subject to parliamentary ratification. This last week, a parliamentary committee met to scrutinize the appointment. It has been common practice that the committee would invite submissions from the Law Association of Zambia (LAW). The LAZ is a statutory body created to regulate the legal profession. More than that though, LAZ is also a “fellowship” of some kind that advocates for lawyers’ interests.

LAZ Vice-President Linda Kasonde presented to the committee what she stated to be the LAZ’s position over the appointment of Mr. Kalaluka. According to her, the Council of LAZ (which is a highest management committee) would not support President Lungu’s nominee. On close scrutiny, it has emerged that she might have presented to parliament views that are at most not representative of the Council of LAZ. There is doubt about whether indeed what Ms. Kasonde presented are the views of LAZ.

Ms. Kasonde in her submission to parliament did rightly state Article 54 of the Constitution of Zambia and the role of an Attorney General (AG). An AG is an ex-officio cabinet member and principal legal adviser to the Government. Government in this case includes all the three branches and their subsidiaries. The qualifications for appointment to the office of AG are that the candidate must be qualified for appointment as Judge of the High Court. This means that for a person to be appointed as Attorney General they must have been member of the Zambian (or any other commonwealth bar) for at least ten years.

Linda Kasonde - LAZ

Linda Kasonde – LAZ

Being Attorney General also comes with some bells and whistles: the AG on appointment becomes a “leader of the Zambian Bar”, and gets automatically conferred with the “status” of “State Counsel”. The most ridiculous aspect of Ms. Kasonde’s submission to parliament showed itself in the way she mistreated the subject of “State Counsel”. According to her, Mr. Kalaluka does satisfy Article 54 of the constitution to be Attorney General since he has been practicing for the past eleven years. Nevertheless, she feels that Mr. Kalaluka cannot be appointed AG because he does not have the necessary experience and respect to be a “State Counsel”. I must respectfully differ with Ms. Kasonde here. She conflates issues. In fact, she uses very selective and at most wrong law and authorities from other commonwealth jurisdictions. Mr. Kalaluka is not being appointed to be State Counsel, he is being appointed to be Attorney General. The test, therefore, that he must meet is not the test for State Counsel, but rather the test for Attorney General, which is ten years at the bar and “some respect”. In her submission however, Ms. Kasonde goes to use authorities that have to do with being conferred the status of “State Counsel” and completely ignores both convention and custom with regard to appointments of Attorneys General in the commonwealth. The authorities that Ms. Kasonde uses on Queensland, Scotland and British Columbia are irrelevant here. Here President Lungu is appointing a quasi-political officer known as Attorney General.

Perhaps a little tutelage can do for Ms. Kasonde. The role of Attorney General is a both quasi-political and political appointment. It is a politician (a President) who chooses the individual to be the principal legal adviser to government. This person as per constitution must have been a member of the bar for at least ten years. It so happens that this political individual appointed to be AG must be conferred the status of State Counsel as an auxiliary consequence of the political appointment. This role is not strictly a bar seniority position. It is a political process tampered by at least 10 years of experience.

If we went by Ms. Kasonde’s reasoning, then we must be using army procedure when electing a president since a president also becomes Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces. This is a ridiculous submission to say the least. When Zambians are electing a president, they are electing, not a soldier, but a civilian who after receiving the oath of office assumes auxiliary functions of Commander. The president of the republic becomes a commander, just as an AG becomes leader of the bar and gets conferred the status of “State Counsel”.

Ms. Kasonde mentions that Mr. Kalaluka is a man of integrity, he has good character but for his “lack of relevant experience” he would be suitable for office. Bo Kasonde might need reminding that these are the qualities we need in an AG: a person with good character and integrity. She also submitted that Mr. Kalaluka needed a “little more experience”. Isn’t this insulting? Kalaluka has been a member of the bar for eleven years. He has appeared in all levels of court. He has an LLB from UNZA and an LLM in disability law from Ireland. How then does, according to Ms. Kasonde, he not meet the requisite experience? All those who have been at the bar for over ten years should really question Ms. Kasonde’s thinking here. Today it is Kalaluka and tomorrow it could be anybody. I cannot possibly stomach this kind of reasoning from Ms. Kasonde.

Ms. Kasonde then alludes to the position that a group of State Counsel took over Mr. Kalaluka. According to her, several individuals currently holding this rank do not support Mr. Kalaluka. While I really do understand their concerns, I do not believe these concerns are fatal to a political decision such as this. They just do not want an eleven-year call to join their ranks. But these lawyers need to separate their own sectarian interests from the whole. State Counsel are advisory and are consulted from time to time, but they do not make decisions for the Law Association of Zambia. And yes, as AG, Mr. Kalaluka would become a leader of the entire Zambian bar including these very State Counsel, but that is a political role. A republican President, who otherwise has never even held a gun, does by virtue of the political office become a commander of all the guns held by our armed forces. It would be ridiculous if soldiers objected to this and stated that they would only “respect” a Commander-In-Chief who knows how to shoot and kill the enemy.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

In making the discussion above, I have made it clear that the sentiments that Ms. Kasonde purported to present to parliament were actually her own. I am skeptical if these sentiments are indeed representative of the LAZ Council. To this I must now turn. The current term of the LAZ Council comprises sixteen members: President Chisanga, Vice-President Linda Kasonde, Secretary Likando Kalaluka, and members Mr Mwenya, Mrs. Yangailo, Mr. Mwitumwa, Mr. Lisimba, Mr. Tafeni, Mr. Muyatwa and Mr. Dzekedzeke. Others are Mr. Mwiche, Mrs. Kateka, Mr. Banda, Mr. Mwitwa, Mr. Sikaulu and Mr. Chulu. Apparently, the Council must meet regularly to make decisions on day-to-day decisions for the LAZ. Once a republican President nominates an Attorney General it is general practice that the nomination is given deference. LAZ does routinely support these appointments. As for Mr. Kalaluka’s appointment, however, it seemed to be a little complicated. Obviously, Ms. Kasonde convened a LAZ Council meeting but they could not form a quorum. So she innovated to have the meeting vote by “e-mails”. According to her letter sent to all members of the Zambian bar, the vote went as follows: Mwenya, Tangailo, Mwitumwa, Lisimba, Tafeni, Muyatwa, and Dzekedzeke were in favour of having Mr. Kalaluka as AG. The following voted “no”: Kasonde, Mwiche, Kateka, Banda, Mwitwa, Sikaulu and Chulu. This means that the vote was a tie, seven were for the resolution and seven were against the resolution. After noting that the vote was a tie, Ms. Kasonde decided to use a very controversial provision in LAZ rules to vote again (twice) so as to break the tie. And she voted again against the resolution to support Mr. Likando Kalaluka. There is a lot to be said about this controversial provision (SI 155 of 1996).

From this voting pattern, I have some questions, and please indulge me. As you can see from the foregoing, the president of LAZ Mr. George Chisanga decided not to vote. He abstained. Mr. Kalaluka too was asked not to vote because he was the subject in the proceedings. It appears to me that Ms. Kasonde should have recused herself as well since she obviously was patently against Mr. Kalaluka. She shouldn’t have voted twice. Having regard to all these issues, I am of the view that this “e-mail” voting was patently unfair and appears not to have been a correct reflection of the sentiments of the members of the LAZ Council. Controversially, I am shocked that Ms. Kasonde went ahead to make presentation to the parliamentary committee inspite of the obvious confusion inherent in this process.

Another disturbing pattern of the vote is that mostly, it is Bemba names that were against the resolution. I do not want to accuse the Bemba members of the LAZ Council to be tribalists, but they might need to explain this. How come it is Kasonde, Mwiche, Kateka, Mwitwa, Sikaulu, Chulu and Banda that are against Kalaluka? Did tribe play a role in this? Interestingly though, Mr. Kalaluka’s CV we have obtained seems to indicate that his languages are English, Lozi and Nyanja. Conspicuously missing from this is Bemba! Interesting. Nevertheless, Bemba-speaking citizens of our republic need to really create a space where we can in unity discuss this idea that we are the centres of this nation while others are only but peripheral. And going by the voting pattern, I call upon our people to realise that merit should not include “tribal” merit. As an Aushi, I must state here it is not in the interest of our shared Bemba commonwealth that we should as a people become insensitive to the interests of other citizens. Zambia is for all Bembas as well as Lozis. President Lungu nominated a Lozi citizen of our republic to be our government’s chief legal adviser, it is only right that we give great deference to this nomination.

Mr. Likando Kalaluka has satisfied all the requirements for appointment as Attorney General of Zambia. I appeal to our parliament to ignore the submissions given by Ms. Linda Kasonde and ratify this appointment. There is a lot of work to do, and the sooner Mr. Kalaluka starts the better! As for Ms. Kasonde, she perhaps might need to read a little more about what obtains in British Columbia, Scotland and Queensland about Attorneys General, and not just about “State Counsel”.

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Here are the two documents Ms. Kasonde submitted to parliament and a letter she wrote to the LAZ Council after using their name to attempt to derail Mr. Likando Kalaluka’s nomination. Judge for yourselves.

LAZ SUBMISSION ON THE APPOINTMENT OF AG

LAZ MEMORANDUM ON APPOINTMENT OF AG 18.03.15