Category Archives: Zambian Law

Has Hon. Mulusa Become Unlucky?

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

Our republic can have no better politicians than the promise epitomised by young and educated leaders such as Hon. Lucky Mulusa. We are better and we will better as a nation if people of Mulusa’s calibre are encouraged to participate in politics. They bring a breath of fresh air to the political scene. When dinosaurs, that have no idea of modern economics, represent a generation of politics it is vibrant people like Mulusa that the nation can fall back on. However, in order to help Mulusa live up to his potential greatness we all have seen in him, it becomes important, actually critical to ask ourselves, has he become unlucky. This question is necessary now, especially in view of the unnecessary squabbles currently prevailing in the MMD. I am of the opinion that Mulusa is likely to emerge damaged after this debacle. He must quickly reevaluate his role in the confusion. Otherwise, he could lose the little respect he currently has in the minds and hearts of some Zambians. I say so for several reasons.

The people Mulusa seems to have joined in fighting Nevers Mumba have played him. I seem to get Mulusa’s argument. He believes in the potential and greatness of the MMD. He believes that the party can do better but cannot do so as long as Nevers Mumba continues to be at its helm. However, this message of his love for the MMD now has been overshadowed by the fact that the other rebels are alleged to have had secret meetings with State House and with senior Patriotic Front leaders. In fact, Hon. Chituwo has confirmed that he had such meetings and so has Hon. Kaingu. We are not privileged to know the motive for these meetings, and the gist of these meetings could be removed from the problems in the MMD. However, these meetings create a reasonable apprehension in the minds of some Zambians and some MMD members that the Patriotic Front is actually sponsoring the people fighting Nevers. The real casualty of such perceptions is actually Mulusa himself. I doubt whether he knew of these meetings. If he did know about them, but nevertheless, went ahead to scheme with Siliya, Kaingu, and Chituwo then I would doubt his judgment. However, if he had no idea that the PF leaders were meeting his colleagues then I would doubt his political competency. Dora and her colleagues have played Mulusa and his message has now been so mired in quagmire that it will take some more work for him to redeem himself. He could be running out of luck.

The timing is not right for Hon. Mulusa to lead a rebellion against Nevers Mumba. This is barely 2 years after the MMD lost power in 2011. Having the MMD begin fighting now will only weaken it further and make the death of the MMD inevitable. Lucky Mulusa does seem to still have some more fighting to do, but beginning them this early will only finish him.

Hon. Lucky Mulusa

Hon. Lucky Mulusa

Hon Mulusa does seem to be making several enemies at the wrong time in his political life. In times like this, he needed to be a little bit more strategic. He has now aroused the Nevers Mumba group. He has equally roused the UPND. In addition to that I understand that online, he has raised the ire of the zambianwatchdog.com website. These are too many battles to be fighting for any one man. You cannot take on so many people at the same time and expect to come out alive politically. For his part, he has also taken issues with Muhabi Lungu. Fighting Muhabi is bad strategically for Mulusa. Muhabi has several things going well for him. First, he has been public and political life longer than Mulusa. Zambians got introduced to Muhabi at a time when he was a sharp talking defender of the then UNIP President Kenneth Kaunda in the mid-1990s. Second, Muhabi being Easterner comes from the only province proving to be the stronghold for the MMD. And for the MMD to survive they need a regional base just like PF and UPND do have regional bases. For any political party in Zambia to become a national party, it must first be able to command an unwavering regional support. PF have their Northern-Luapula corridor and the UPND have their Southern region. The MMD must have the Eastern Province. Otherwise, they are toast. Third, Muhabi Lungu has actually worked for both Rupiah and Mwanawasa governments crafting the very policies that Mulusa is claiming made the MMD great. Fourth, Muhabi has taken on a different approach to the MMD problems. Every one with half a brain knows that the MMD has declined and is likely to decline further. However, the solution to these problems does not lie with fighting Nevers Mumba but with working with Nevers Mumba. Any MMD member who wishes to see the MMD rise again should try to work with Nevers and supplement his weaknesses. This is exactly what Muhabi is doing. To see Mulusa begin fighting Muhabi does not make sense. Some Zambians could as well ask, Muhabi we know, what about this new guy? Is he “a John come lately”

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Nevers Sekwila Mumba

Hon Mulusa is not making sense politically when he claims that Nevers is irrelevant to the MMD because he caused the party to lose a ward election in Mpulungu in February. According to Mulusa, he believes that the MMD should be able to do well in the North because Nevers comes from there. The problem with the MMD is that they have a very popular opponent in the PF’s Michael Sata. Sata, in spite, of the economic failure in Zambia still remains a very formidable and personally popular candidate in the North. Currently, there is no politician who can dislodge Sata from the North. This is not Nevers’ problem. Additionally, Mulusa alleges that since Nevers is not that popular in the North this should be the reason to leave the MMD presidency. I doubt this kind of reasoning. Nevers Mumba is MMD president because he went to the convention and overwhelmingly beat his rivals. Those elections matter just like any other elections do matter. To claim that Nevers has never won an election when the guy had just beaten five other contestants in 2012 does not help Mulusa with his argument at all.

If Hon Mulusa believes that only parliamentary elections are the real elections, may be this is the time to doubt then whether Mulusa himself has lost relevance since the last time he ran for parliament, his seat was nullified due to electoral corruption. There is a lot Mulusa can offer Zambia. But this route he has taken will only lead to his political demise. My advice? Mulusa should cool down. Take it easy and fight for the people of Zambia instead of fighting Nevers Mumba. Mulusa has already done some remarkable things in both parliament and outside it. These are the kind of fights; they want him to continue championing.

Many Zambians do not believe that Nevers Mumba is the greatest of their problems. The greatest problems for Zambia are things such as the value of the Kwacha, out of control inflation, the stolen constitution and corruption perpetrated by the party in power. That being the case, the perception that it is the Patriotic Front sponsoring the anti-Nevers campaign in the MMD does not augur well at all. Nevers and the MMD needed an enemy to fight, and they have just been given that punching bag – the so-called anti-Nevers group. They will now use these anti-Nevers individuals as whipping boys (and girl) for the broader campaign to highlight the misdeeds of the Patriotic Front. This message might resonate with Zambians and entrench Nevers in the minds of many Zambians even deeper. Hon Mulusa’s star should shine, but if he continues on this path, he might just run out of political luck. Or may be Lucky Mulusa has already become unlucky!

Good Guy, Bad Skin: Is President Sata discriminating against a “muzungu” Vice-President?

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

Agony is having someone serve as your vice-president and yet never give him the opportunity to act as president when you are not around. It is quite absurd that President Sata would have a vice-president distrusted to serve. When the PF government came into power in 2011, we welcomed the idea of an African country with a Whiteman as its vice-president. Indeed, President Sata has himself bragged to foreign dignitaries that only two countries in the world have a Blackman for president and Whiteman for vice-president: USA and Zambia. But what lies beneath all this chatter, is a glaring reality: President Sata has never left this Whiteman to act as president of Zambia. This oversight on the president’s part, in my opinion, is an anomaly that could trigger a grave but avoidable crisis.

Guy Lindsay Scott - Vice-President of the Republic of  Zambia (2011 - )

Guy Lindsay Scott – Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia (2011 – )

President Sata does seem to be operating under the assumption that he could do anything he wants with the office of the vice-president. This is a serious misapplication of the law and the constitution. Unlike positions of cabinet minister, the office of vice-president is a constitutionally provided and protected office. It is the constitution that both limits and delimits the powers and structure of a vice-president (Article 45). Whereas the president does have a lot of discretion with how he configures the offices falling in Cabinet and their functions, the Zambian constitution does not give the president the sole discretion to configure the office of vice-president. Very little is left to presidential wishes. If a president selects a person to serve as vice-president then that appointment should confer upon such person all constitutional duties and privileges.

Article 45 (4) acknowledges that the primary functions of the vice-president are those imposed upon her or him, first and foremost, by the constitution itself and then secondarily by the president’s delegation. This is how Art 45 (4) is phrased:

In addition to the powers and functions of the Vice-President specified in this Constitution or under any other law, the Vice-President shall perform such functions as shall be assigned to him by the President.

So from this article, the president may assign the vice-president some functions, but these functions are “in addition” to the powers specified for the vice-president from the constitution. That being the case, the president cannot use Article 45 (4) to vary constitutional powers conferred upon a vice-president. It does not matter that the vice-president is just an appointee of a president.

The most significant function of a republican vice-president is to be a “transitory” executive office. According to Article 38 the vice-president runs the affairs of the state in an acting capacity when there is a vacancy in the presidency. This involves arranging for fresh elections and presiding over the affairs of the state. This transitory period is up to 90 days and could subsist until the next president takes the oath of office. It is only when the vice-president is “absent” or “sick” or “incapacitated” that cabinet is then authorized to appoint someone else.

Is President Sata discriminating against a white vice-president?

Is President Sata discriminating against a white vice-president?

In addition to being a transitory office, the vice-president also becomes a repository of executive power when parliament is dissolved. The Zambian courts have held very consistently that the vice-president and the president are the only members of the executive who remain in office after the dissolution of parliament. This is what Justice Wood stated in the case of Wynter Kabimba v. Attorney General and George Kunda (2011). It is the intent of our constitution that while the vice-president is indeed a member of parliament, he or she does not lose the office when parliament gets dissolved. Here is how this interpretation would apply to the Guy Scott issue. When President Sata dissolves parliament sometime in 2016 for elections, Hon Chikwanda and his cabinet colleagues will cease to be MPs. They will also cease to be cabinet members. Under those circumstances Chikwanda will not and cannot act as president. Vice-President Guy Scott, however, would continue to occupy the office of vice-president until a new president is sworn in. If President Sata continues with the current practice of leaving power only to Chikwanda, he could potentially create a crisis prior to 2016 elections when there will be no Chikwanda and no parliament. President Sata should begin giving the constitutional reins that Guy Scott already possesses by virtue of his office as vice-president. Levers of power should begin getting used to saluting legitimate office bearers regardless of their creed or colour. By stating this, I am not in any way insinuating that Guy Scott is a great political leader. Far from it. I am merely asking that Scott be treated equally like any other citizen of our republic.

1921077_678862615508509_1621913608_o

Good Guy, but bad skin?

Does the constitution preclude Scott from acting as president due to his skin? Arguing that the constitution has precluded a Whiteman from Zambian presidency is plain racism. In fact, it is nonsense. And if that is what is going on in the don’t kubeba government, then we should pity both the Head of State and the cadre of his legal advisors. Isn’t it absurd that the president would go ahead to appoint a vice-president who does not meet presidential eligibility? If a Veep can’t act as president, why then does he even occupy that office? However, I find no legal or constitutional basis why a Whiteman such as Guy Scott should be precluded from acting as president of Zambia. Article 34 as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Lewanika & Others v. Chiluba does suggest that any Zambian fitting Guy Scott’s situation could in fact satisfy the eligibility requirements, including the “parentage clause”. Interestingly, the “parentage clause” was passed when Mr. Sata was the country’s third most powerful politician. I wonder whether the contextual discrimination of 1996 is having an impact on the way President Sata is treating Scott today. In Chiluba, The Supreme Court went on to state that the 1996 constitution in Article 34 created problems for the future. Nevertheless, constitutionally absurd rules should be interpreted liberally. You cannot use kangaroo rules to deny a birthright to Zambians simply because they are of the wrong skin!

It is nonsense to claim that the Zambian constitution discriminates against Guy Scott - Munshya

It is nonsense to claim that the Zambian constitution discriminates against Guy Scott – Munshya

Some have stated that there is precedence that presidents have left power in the hands of their preferred cabinet members. Some point to Chiluba occasionally leaving power to his close ministers and not his Veep. In fact, there is speculation that President Mwanawasa left symbols of power with Defense Minister Mpombo and not Vice-President Rupiah Banda in 2008. For administrative convenience, a president could leave his preferred chaps to act in his absence. But this should be for governmental expediency and should happen once in a while. Administrative convenience does not mean, racial convenience. Scott is not “absent” or “sick” or “incapacitated” for President Sata to continually sideline him for a presidential salute. Or may be he is indeed “incapacitated”. But I am left to wonder whether it is the colour of his skin that makes him incapacitated. It certainly appears so. Only the president can correct this anomaly and do right.

Scott has received some very demeaning remarks from some opposition leaders. That should not be the case. However, President Sata can help prevent these slurs by giving to Scott the privilege of nationality constitutionally accorded to vice-presidents, white or black. Then only will it make sense that Zambia indeed has a black president and a white vice-president. Our Zambia belongs equally to all: Bembas, Tongas, and, of course, bazungus like Guy Lindsay Scott.

Note: This article deals with general matters of the law from a public interest perspective. Those needing specific legal counsel on some of these questions should consult members of the Zambian bar.

Is Stella Shooting at Shadows?: Hichilema, Police IG Libongani & “Amayendele”

 E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

In our democracy, there should be no reason why the police command should be wasting taxpayers’ bullets and teargas to chase Hakainde Hichilema (HH) out of the Eastern Province. Bullets and teargas should be for criminals and not ordinary citizens. Reports that Inspector-General (IG) Stella Libongani had sent a battalion of police and soldiers to hound HH out of Chipata are very disturbing. What is even more worrying is the fact that the honorable Inspector General issued a statement in which she proudly detailed this fact. This is regrettable. However, we must not be tired to remind each other frequently, of the sacrosanct liberties we have decided to enjoy as a people. Power corrupts. And I see the reason why Bo Stella could be using her position and her power to persecute citizens of our country. It is certainly tempting to be in Lusaka and with the click of a finger be able to mobilize paramilitaries to frighten villagers in Mungwi or Malambo. We must be clear from the outset that eroding our constitutional liberties as citizens of our beloved country is a serious issue that we as a people should condemn with the contempt it deserves.

This nation was formed with a clear goal in mind: to be a free people united under the banner of One Zambia One Nation. The slogan of “amayendele muno Zambia” was the battle cry at independence. What this means is that any citizen of our country does have the liberty to travel anywhere across the length and breadth of our homeland. Amayendele means HH can go where he wishes to go. He cannot get lost. It is his country. Amayendele means Chipata is Hakainde’s Zambia just like Mazabuka is his. Amayendele means a native of Milenge can freely roam in Mwinilunga. Amayendele means we do not need police permits and passes to go and pay homage to Mpezeni, Chitimukulu or Gawa-Undi. Unless HH is restricted by a court of law, there is no way that Bo Stella should be sending armed police to tear gas a citizen away from Chipata. Hakainde is not a mouse that needs to be smoked out of a hole. He is certainly not a rabid dog that needs to be quarantined to his Kabulonga home. It makes absolute no sense that the Zambia Police should take pride in restricting the constitutional liberties enjoyed by a free people.

The United Party for National Development (UPND) is one of the leading political players in our country. In a democratic nation, political participants should have the liberty to compete for political ideas in the electoral marketplace. It does not matter that HH is politically annoying to President Sata. In fact, I find some of HH’s statements against Sata to be self-indulgent and occasionally silly. But that is, within reason, a lawful liberty that is and should be constitutionally protected. Anyway, State House itself does return HH’s fire for fire. And HH’s political candor has been met squarely by the greater vulgarity pasted on State House letterheads.

Stella Libongani

Stella Libongani

Nevertheless, political silliness is not one of the reasons why citizens should be denied their “Amayendele liberties.” Subsequently, as a citizen of this country HH has the freedom to hold and promote his political opinions. He should be free to air those opinions. It is up to the people of Chipata to decide whether they will believe HH or not. It is not up to Libongani to decide for us what the people of Mutenguleni want. Certainly, it is not up to the Police High Command to determine for the people of Malambo which candidate is to be believed. That being the case, it is concerning that the Police would so imprudently decide to interfere in what should be left for the people to determine. Zambians decided to vote for Michael Sata in 2011. They needed no help from bullets or teargas. And Zambians certainly need no bullets to determine for them the person they will vote for in 2016. We are Zambians and bullets have never been our way of resolving our political differences. And I hope Bo Stella will keep it that way by exercising restraint in the way she uses teargas to deal with unarmed political players. Indeed if she is trigger happy, she could exercise her shooting skills on ducks, chickens and cockroaches, but not on the Zambian human like HH.

Ordinary folks are the primary defenders of democracy. Regardless of how strong or weak institutions of democracy are, it takes the will and resolve of a people to strengthen their stake in democracy. Zambians fought for democracy in 1964. Zambians fought for democracy in 1991. When faced with the prospect of a Third Term, Zambians hooped together again and fought for democracy in 2001. President Sata should never make the mistake of assuming that Zambians will give up on democracy in 2014. We have stated in this column, and we do restate it: Zambians have tasted the beautiful fruit begotten by the tree of democracy. Having found it to be so sweet, Zambians are unwilling to revert back to the ruthlessness and senselessness of the rotten shrub of dictatorship.

Hakainde Hichilema

Hakainde Hichilema

Libongani is indeed in a very precarious situation. She could be thinking that by being cruel to HH she is somehow winning some favour from her boss. But what she might need reminding is the fact that, her boss also has some bosses: the people of Zambia. The people of Zambia elected President Sata and it is the people of Zambia that will decide his fate come 2016. That being the case, Libongani should hold allegiance to the government of the day, only as the custodians of the administrative state delegated to them by the people. It is true that politicians supervise Libongani. Our system of government is such that elected officials supervise, within the confines of the law, both the civil service and the security apparatus. This is done so that there may be law and order in our country. This is also done so that these security officials may at the command of politicians protect Zambia from internal and external enemies. It is ridiculous to stop HH as if he were an enemy of the State. We need soldiers and armies not to harass citizens but to protect citizens. Libongani should be sending police to facilitate HH’s safety in Chipata instead of sending armed paramilitaries to smoke him out of Chipata.

Trigger happy?

Trigger happy?

The Inspector General does have a choice in the matter. She has the choice to do right when democratic liberties are at stake. She should be impartial in the discharge of her functions. We like it that she is presiding over a sophisticated security apparatus. But she must know that she is doing it to protect our people and enhance democratic liberties. It is not worth it for her to erode liberties. Instead of focusing so much on HH, President Sata should concentrate on putting measures in place to control inflation and strengthen the value of the Zambian Kwacha, which could reach K7, 000 to a dollar in a few days. However, if President Sata fails to resolve these problems, Zambians will have no choice but to smoke HH out of his Kabulonga home and make him president in 2016. But until then “mayendele muno Zambia”. And as the people of Milenge would put it: umukashana wa mabele talangwa nshila!

A Nation on “Tamanga”: Zambia’s Curse of Futile Quick Fixes

 E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Munshya wa Munshya

Munshya wa Munshya

We are a nation of “tamanga.” We are the generation epitomising the notion of “ifintu ni bwangu”. In everything we do, “musanga musanga” has come to define who we are and where we stand. “Tamanga” can mean many things. On the street, it has come to mean a people who have to hustle for survival. It could also mean a busy people. And this is one of the problems we face as a nation. Ever on the move but getting nowhere. Ever talking and yet no one is listening. We are busy with lots of stuff and yet development lags behind. This has been the case since independence. We are quick at talking. Actually, we are fast talkers. We are “punkas” as they call it at Katondo Street. Our actions show a lot of activity without real progress. It is time our nation came to a stop. And reflect. We need to relook at this culture that has spiraled out of control: the culture of tamanga.

The 90-day promise from politicians was born from this tamanga pretext. Even if there was no way that anyone could deliver development in 90 days, our people nevertheless believed it. In “tamanga” we trusted. While in opposition, and in fact even after winning the elections, President Sata held on to a discreditable promise of delivering a “people driven constitution within 90 days”. In the spirit of tamanga, some Zambians believed him. That faith is itself problematic. After tamanga has failed, President Sata’s police are now threatening to arrest hurriedly anyone who dare question the tamanga promises over the constitution. On Youth Day, the police arrested children demanding for a new constitution. Indeed, as President Sata’s actions are proving, tamanga does not work in the long run.

Plastered everywhere in the corners of our cities are invitations to the tamanga gospel. Preachers are the new witchdoctors. They are advertising along the same lines as the Ng’anga Association of Zambia. “Come to our meetings”, they are proclaiming, “for instant elevation”. Ifintu ni bwangu is the new good news and all it requires is a little water drawn from the River Jordan and all the problems will be over. Musanga musanga, the gospel has now become. And there are so many of our people buying into this tamanga theology. This is a sad state of affairs.

A nation on tamanga

A nation on tamanga

The MMD government worked hard for the development we now see. Wheels of commerce have been spinning very fast since 1991. Chiluba, Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda led Zambia to unprecedented economic prosperity. Only Michael Sata’s don’t kubeba government is threatening this economic growth. However, in spite of the growth, infrastructure has not kept pace with this economic prosperity. We have more vehicles on the road than the roads could possible carry. In spite of this, we are driving faster than ever. Our passion for tamanga is now murdering our people along the Great North Road and along the Ndola-Kitwe-Chingola road. Tamanga has become a curse. We need to slow down on those roads. We can do with a missed appointment, but we can’t do with people dying due to over-speeding. The Zambian driver should slow down on the road. The Zambian driver should arrive alive. What good is it to drive so fast and never arrive? Our roads do not need more prayers, than they need a little less speed.

With the growth of the Zambian middle class has brought newly found prosperity among a huge section of Zambians. This means that there is more money circulating among journalists, engineers, accountants, teachers, lawyers and other professionals. This increased prosperity has brought a problem of its own – busyness. It has brought the spirit of tamanga. This Zambian generation is the busiest it has been since independence. We are always on the move. For these newly prospering individuals, the spirit of tamanga is not leading them to more balanced lives, but to more restlessness and inner chaos. Tamanga leads to imbalanced and unfocussed lives. We must do something to redeem our nation from this.

In a nation of tamanga, the Kwacha has now developed swifter feet. On tamanga, it is now K6, 000 against the dollar. In this culture, life comes easy to those who are constantly connected with the “apa mwambas”. Shortcuts become the order of the day. You know you are in trouble as a nation, when a bank branch manager within a day gets to become a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Zambia. How on earth could we ever expect the Kwacha to perform well when its primary managers have never written a single paper in economics? We need redemption as a nation from the spirit of ifintu ni bwangu.

In marriage and family, tamanga claims to resolve problems without the patience of endurance and the sacrifice of perseverance. Who needs foreplay and emotional connection if concoctions on the roadside are promising hard rock erections within seconds? And that is a problem. Families are getting wrecked because when spouses are busy, they will not invest the needed sacrifice and emotions in family improvement. They will replace selfless relational connection with the saga of tainted Viagra, now selling more than Panado across Lusaka. That would bring a spiral of problems of its own. Zambia needs redemption from tamanga.

We can condemn Christopher Katongo for what he said about young players. And many soccer fans have a reason to be suspicious of the captain. May be Katongo is right. We should not sacrifice experience at the altar of tamanga. Why is it that other national teams in Africa have more experienced players than the Zambian team? Is it that we rush for tamanga more than experience? I will leave that up to your judgment and consideration.

In order for us to resolve this problem of tamanga, each one of us should make a conscious decision to slow down. Next time you are driving to Ndola, please take your time. Start early for the journey and leave a lot of time and space, it could save your life and that of others. There is no need to speed a Marcopolo Bus only to die at Chibombo. Praying we must do, but after that prayer is done, God expects and demands from us to drive with utmost care once we are behind the wheel. We could also decide to reject the tamanga idea out-rightly. The rising workers in the middleclass should be able to say no over time hours only to appease their bosses while leaving their spouses in tears.

To defeat the spirit of tamanga, we could all just begin to pay attention to those and the things around us. Life becomes more fulfilling when we begin to live and to pay attention. Next time, you are rushed; look at ways you can take it a little slowly. Listen more to others. Look at creation. Look at the grass and the trees. Enjoy the beauty of nature. If it rains, watch the drops of the rains. Smell the morning dew. Refuse to be rushed and enjoy the beauty that is in an unhurried life. Let us for once and for all undermine and maim the tamanga culture. We must refuse the temptation to steal from government. Some are poor in 2011 but by 2014, they have built mansions in Chalala. Without the sacrifice of patience, they have become rich through ill-gotten gains. Politics has become a way to steal and this tamanga is leading to unbridled corruption and theft of public resources.

In tamanga we all should not trust.

Aleisa, Aleisa: Challenges and Opportunities for Hakainde Hichilema

 E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), Mdiv.

Aleisa, Aleisa

Aleisa, Aleisa

We make no error by stating, unequivocally, that Hakainde Hichilema was the big winner from the by-elections held in February. Things are looking pretty good for HH. The United Party for National Development (UPND) did exceptionally well. It is becoming eloquently clear that the winds of political fortune are gusting their way. For how long, though, will the UPND hold on to this political swelling? Additionally, what challenges or opportunities do the victories in Chililabombwe and in Katuba present to Zambia’s political landscape? We try to provide an analysis here.

There are many challenges that UPND will face after Katuba. However, in facing these challenges, they should never underestimate the political skills of Michael Chilufya Sata. With things as bad as they are for the Patriotic Front, President Sata still remains reasonably popular within his traditionally strong areas. These areas include urban areas and Luapula-Northern corridor. The UPND should not leave any stone unturned or become complacent. If they want to provide a real alternative to Sata they should be willing to confront him and his political abilities. They should take the fight right to Sata’s doorsteps. Last week, the PF won overwhelmingly in a Kitwe ward. This is further testimony to the fact that in spite of urban discontent with the PF, defeating it will not come on a silver platter in 2016.

The UPND’s other challenge concerns its bad performance in the Bemba-speaking areas. We have talked about this several times. In spite of having been on the political scene for such a long time – for almost two-decades – it is desolate that the UPND has not made any real progress with the Bemba-speaking vote in Northern or Luapula Provinces. This is a serious issue that the UPND should resolve. For once, HH should come up with a strategy that would resonate with the people of this Bemba-speaking world. We are satisfied that HH recognizes this and he has promised to travel to these places in the near future to hold meetings there. Doing so will be a step in the right direction. We do not believe that the UPND is anymore tribal than the PF. But they should come up with a more workable strategy to show that they are serious about issues affecting all Zambians regardless of tribe or class.

As such, more than just holding meetings in the Bemba-speaking areas, HH should begin attracting real opinion formers and political noisemakers that are well known in the Luapula-Northern corridor. It is quite concerning that to-date, HH and his UPND still do not have a politically influential Bemba within their ranks. If HH is to be a serious contender in 2016 he must deal with this anomaly. He could also learn something from Michael Sata. What made Sata president are not only the Bemba vote or the urban vote, but also the Lozi vote. Sata would not have won the 2011 elections had it not been for the Lozi vote. It was very significant. Sata crafted a message for Mongu. And the people of Mongu bought into it. HH should do better for the people of Mansa and Kasama.

For one thing, the issue of Chitimukulu is not a politically potent issue for HH to use in winning the Bemba vote. In fact, Sata continues to mess with the Chitimukulu issue because he knows that it is of no political consequence to him.  Those who think that the Chitimukulu saga would sink Sata among Bemba-proper peoples either do not know history or having known history, they have chosen to ignore it completely. HH should be careful in the way he jumps on the Sosala saga. It is not big enough an issue to help him address the Northern-Luapula deficit. The Chitimukulu story should be situated within a particular context. It is a chieftaincy dispute that has to do with complicated family and royal quarrels that are confusing to everyone. Such disputes would not provide good-enough political ammunition for HH. Umuto wa lupwa tawitika. After Sata has quarreled with the Bemba royalists they will, in no time, make up and it will be business as usual. With that in mind, HH should be one step ahead and deal with issues that are truly concerning to the rural people of Luapula and Northern provinces: issues such as farming inputs and infrastructure development.

Opportunities abound for HH. With the win in a Chililabombwe ward, the people of the Copperbelt might have started to have another good look at him. It would be better for HH and his UPND to begin sending a popular message to the people of the Copperbelt and Lusaka. Urban voters will prove significant. Considering that much of Southern, Western, Northwestern and rural Copperbelt is warming up well to HH, he would need just a little more votes in the urban areas to win in 2016. But he must have a message for the urban areas. He should make his message simple. He should deal with bread and butter issues that are the most pressing in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. With a slight uptick along the line of rail, HH would be the candidate to watch in 2016.

HH also now has the opportunity to set the agenda for the opposition parties. He is in a position to negotiate for a prominent place within the opposition gala. He has the break to shape how the opposition will take on the don’t kubeba machinery come 2016. For sure, HH should not be afraid to try and foster an alliance with either Nevers Mumba or even Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM). If he continues on the same path of popularity, we see no reason why either of these gentlemen would be reluctant to align with him. Regardless of how one looks at it, an opposition alliance led by Hakainde Hichilema and deputised by Nevers Mumba or GBM will beat the Patriotic “Kaloba” Front very easily. But the question remains: is HH ready to use the newly found political capital to foster this alliance?

MMD is dead - Munshya

MMD is dead – Munshya

Nevers Mumba’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy is dead. In fact, it died before Nevers took over. It died a long time ago. It was only perpetuated by the little power in had as a ruling party during Mwanawasa’s tenure. Bo Mumba inherited a damaged brand and there is very little he can do to resuscitate it. The MMD as it stands now, will not win any seat in the 2016 elections. And this is not due to Mumba’s fault or any of the current leaders’. The demise of the MMD was consummated in 2001 by the very people who were influential in its founding in 1991. By their political engineering, both MMD long-time Secretary Michael Sata and his boss president Chiluba sowed the seeds of the demise of the MMD long before Mumba took over. While there is still some time left, it would be wise for Mumba to face reality and ask his colleagues to have the MMD form an alliance with the UPND with Nevers as the secondary partner of that alliance.

If there is anything we can learn from Katuba as we sprint towards 2016, it is the fact the UPND is on the rise, the MMD is dying and President Sata remains somewhat well-liked in his traditional areas. Will Hakainde Hichilema use this newly founded political capital to his advantage in the coming months? We will all watch and see.

For now, aleisa aleisa.

<div id=”fb-root”></div> <script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));</script>
<div class=”fb-post” data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=236738196513679&#8243; data-width=”466″><div class=”fb-xfbml-parse-ignore”><a href=”https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=236738196513679″>Post</a&gt; by <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/patriotic.behind”>Patriotic Behind</a>.</div></div>

Politics of Chigololo: President Sata, HH and the slurring of fatherless children

 By E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Instead of being a father to the fatherless, President Sata has become a scoffer of the fatherless. Instead of being a father of the nation, President Sata has chosen to ridicule those among citizens who have lived without knowing their fathers. Quite extraordinarily, it takes a lot of steel for a man to condemn others for the same thing he does. Pointing a finger at others, when four are pointing back at you should be enough to warn you of your own decadence. It is bizarre to disparage Hakainde Hichilema as a child “born out of fornication” when you yourself have a chain of children born out wedlock. When President Sata first chanted the famous bana ba mufigololo stanza, in July 2013, to refer to both Father Frank Bwalya and Hakainde Hichilema, I gave him a benefit of doubt. He is only human and may be he just had a slip of a tongue. I rationalized that may be he had such an intense campaign for Lameck Mangani that he, in the heat of the moment, thoughtlessly brought in the cigololo analogy. In English, it does sound lighter. But used in CiNyanja these words are graver and even more uncouth.

Fatherhood is a privilege, but President Sata should not be slurring fatherless children.

Fatherhood is a privilege, but President Sata should not be slurring fatherless children. (Munshya with son Mwitumwa)

As if it was not enough that he had used these uncouth words in Chipata last year. President Sata has repeated the same slur. Campaigning in Katuba Constituency, last week (in February 2014) he used the same disparaging remarks referring to HH as a man “who cannot name his father.” President Sata, who is 76, went on to name his own father and challenged HH to do the same. By implication, President Sata does seem to be suggesting that HH is unworthy of the presidency because he was allegedly born out of wedlock. It is clear that President Sata does seem to have some issues he needs to settle in his own mind concerning “abana ba mufigololo”.

Mucigololo

President Sata’s “cigololo” insults are unacceptable – Munshya wa Munshya

Our constitution does attribute a lot of dignity to the person occupying the office of president. This is the reason why such an individual gets immunity from both civil and criminal suits while they serve. In fact, the Supreme Court has made it clear, that the Presidency is a high office that must be “honoured and respected”. According to Chief Justice Matthew Ngulube, in the case of Mmembe and others v. the People (1996), the presidency, as an institution, does deserve protection from, among other things, libel and defamation. For Ngulube the constitution makes the president to be “not equal” to everyone else. In reprimanding Spectator Kalaki’s Mfuwe article, the Supreme Court in Roy Clarke v. Attorney General, held that characterizing Mwanawasa and his cabinet as animals was in bad taste and was inconsistent with Zambian values. According to Chief Justice Ernest Sakala, “a Zambian President deserves respect”. Most recently, in the case of Mutuna & Others v. Attorney General (2013), Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda’s majority opinion did seem to have evoked both Justice Ngulube and Justice Sakala by claiming that the presidency is such a high office that is “authority on everything.” Indeed, our laws do seem to impute a lot of dignity, decorum and deference to the president. But the law has not quite addressed the question of how we citizens should handle a president who uses immunity as a cover to insult and disparage others.

Supreme Court precedence does seem to have worked presidential dignity backwards. It imputes respect and reasonableness on a president and then from there assumes that the president will act in fairness, reverence and dignity towards others (See Mutuna & Others). But what are we to do when citizens get the brunt of insults from a sitting Head of State? This is the question and the dilemma we face as a people today.

President Sata’s words should be taken for what they are: plain insults. It is not respectful for a person in authority to characterize some citizens as “abana ba mufigololo.” We might at this moment borrow some wisdom from President Frederick Chiluba who famously declared: imfumu taituka bantu, abantu ebatuka imfumu. Loosely translated, a good leader does not use his or her position of authority as a cover to slur subordinates. However, ever since the don’t kubeba government took office the reverse has happened: imfumu iletuka abantu! The PF government is a specialist in reverse gears. The latest casualty of their reverse gear is the falling Kwacha. But I will leave that for another day.

Presidential immunity should not be used as a way to insult, but rather as a way for a president to have the leverage and freedom to consult with others in national development. President Sata should look at others that went before him. Kenneth Kaunda was a “wamuyaya”, but where is he today? It was a custom of his to refer to citizens and some opponents as “stupid idiots”. But when the time came, he was kicked out of office. Then came Frederick Chiluba. Even if he never insulted his opponents, after leaving power in 2002, the Zambian parliament stripped him of his immunity. Mere suspicions of theft were enough to strip Chiluba of his bombasa. Rupiah Banda also has had his bombasa stripped. This should serve as a lesson to President Sata also. He should use the privilege of immunity to serve and not to abuse others. Immunity is quite an unreliable shield.

President Sata as Head of State is supposed to be inspiring confidence in a number of children born out of wedlock every day. It is not his job to disparage mothers giving birth to fatherless children. Indeed, this president is supposed to be president for all Zambians including those born out of wedlock. His continued ridiculing of HH only goes to perpetuate stigma against children in Zambia who have lived without knowing their father. In fact, daily in our primary schools, children without fathers are being subjected to bullying. They are being mocked for something that is not their fault. And yet, instead of receiving support from the leadership of our country, they receive innuendo that casts doubt on their personal value. What are these children supposed to do?

Hakainde Hichilema may have survived a fatherless childhood. He has made good out of himself. He is one of the richest guys in the whole country. He has been to school and his degrees are an envy of many. He is leader of one of the biggest political parties. He is a father himself, or perhaps, a grandfather. It is all these reasons that make President Sata’s remarks even more absurd.

As Zambians, we all know that many times, it is not biological parents who raise children. It takes a village to raise a child. For a man like HH to be where he is today, he received lots of support and nurture from many people in his community. It is these people – men and women – who were HH’s fathers and mothers. And just look at the finesse of a gentleman that he is. There is absolutely no reason why HH should be at the receiving brunt of these insults. If the constitution will not protect the fatherless innocents from a hasty president, we might as well rely on customary wisdom: Ubufumu bucindika umwine.

More Pollution in Our Pockets: Absurdity of an Open-Pit Mine in the Lower Zambezi

 E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), M.Div.

Many have undertaken to write on the appropriateness and inappropriateness of Hon Harry Kalaba’s decision to overrule Zambia’s environmental body. Kalaba has permitted a foreign company strangely known as “Zambezi Resources Limited” to develop an open pit mine in the middle of the Lower Zambezi National Park. Ignoring advice from environmental experts from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), Hon Kalaba has used his statutory powers and invoked public policy objects in granting this license. I understand that this matter is now in court. There are reports that the aliens in charge of Zambezi Resources have refuted the reality of any injunction against them. As far as they are concerned they are ready to begin the plunder of the Zambezi River Basin. I will leave the legal arguments to the competent lawyers and the High Court. In this article, however, I will dwell only on the other arguments advanced by Kalaba and his government peers in justifying this environmental sacrilege.

Pollution in Mufulira, Zambia

Pollution in Mufulira, Zambia

Harry Kalaba is in many senses a very reasonable gentleman. He is a rising star in the PF government. As a native of Luapula, I have no doubt that Kalaba brings to public office the grace, gallantry and great wisdom domiciled in our people. It is young Luapulans like Kalaba who daily keep alive the hopes and dreams of our republic. Zambia will be better and greater with ministers like Kalaba. In humble patriotism, however, we must call upon even gifted people like Kalaba to reevaluate the way they are governing the country. We must put aside personal familiarities and common kinship in pursuit of higher ideals for our national healing. And for the stance he has taken on the issue of mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park, I must differ with him and the policies of his colleagues in the Don’t Kubeba government.

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park

The Don’t Kubeba government is arguing that this foreign firm, “Zambezi Resources” does have the technology necessary to keep the game park in pristine condition while excavating an open pit mine. This is nonsense. Kalaba and his colleagues have failed to put in place any measures to protect the people of Mufulira who are currently being slaughtered daily by sulphur gases discharging from Butondo. How then will they have the technology to do better in Zambezi? Why can’t they start to show us their “modern technology” by cleaning up Mufulira and Chingola before these companies go on to turn the whole country into a huge pile of torrential chemicals? Indeed, it is simple logic. That which has failed to work for Chingola and Mufulira will most certainly fail to work for the Lower Zambezi. Zambezi Resources does not have the technology to mine in the Zambezi any safer than other mining companies are currently doing on the Copperbelt. And as the people of Nchanga know, a mine is a mine. An open pit mine is an open pit mine. There is no technology that can ever replace soils dug out of the ground to make room for this open pit mine. Digging in the Lower Zambezi does have consequences on the land, the animals and the people of the Lower Zambezi.

The Don’t Kubeba government is also arguing that they have permitted mining in the Lower Zambezi so as to create jobs for Zambians. Sometimes President Sata’s ministers speak in a way that defies modest sense. When they talk about jobs, they speak as if they do have job creation as an important element in their government. One cannot avoid but notice that this government’s policies have killed more jobs than any other government in the Third Republic. It is, therefore, strange that they would use job creation as the excuse for desecrating the Lower Zambezi National Park. Indeed, there are better ways to create jobs. The first way to create jobs in an economy like Zambia is to first protect the jobs that already exist in the economy. It is rather absurd that Sata’s government has fired close to 500 nurses countrywide and yet turns back and claims to be creating jobs in the Lower Zambezi. This government is not serious about job creation for Zambians. It is only serious about job creation for the party and its family. If they really want to provide jobs to Zambians they should immediately reinstate the nurses and not just smear us with more “bufi” about Zambezi.

The PF government moved with a lot of zeal to impose taxes and duty on vehicles used by churches and NGOs in their poverty alleviation programs. The imposition of this duty and tax means that NGOs will hire fewer workers. Fewer workers will further complicate Zambia’s job creation outlook. It is the poor that will suffer further because churches and NGOs will not be able to drive into the interior without suitable equipment. It is, therefore, surprising that the same government that acted at impulse to punish NGOs would today claim to sell the Zambezi on the pretext that it wants to create jobs. We can know the direction of a government by the way it treats small men and women. It has failed to collect enough tax from mines and yet it wants to kill the NGO sector, which is one of the biggest employment sectors in the country. The 3 years of PF rule is awash with examples of how it has failed to adequately tax mining companies. And yet it finds it easy to terrorize powerless NGOs. Approving more mines in the national park will not solve the tax problem created by the PF’s lack of economic competency. To mine tax, I must now turn.

Harry Kalaba's government specializes in guesswork - Munshya wa Munshya

Harry Kalaba’s government specializes in guesswork – Munshya wa Munshya

PF ministers are arguing that Zambezi Resources will bring in lots of revenue into government coffers. This is not only laughable but also pitiful. We must pity the don’t kubeba government. Inspite of having a seat on the boards of copper mines pillaging our copper, the PF government has no idea of how much these copper mines are actually generating. It is all guess work. That being the case, it makes no sense that they now want to add more companies to this list of their ineptitude. In any case, the winners in the Lower Zambezi will not be the Zambians; it will be the same foreign companies and their investors in Berlin, New York, Toronto and Brisbane. Moreover, the PF government will not collect a ngwee from this company because it has neither the capacity nor the backbone to collect tax from companies.  As mentioned above, the only tax it knows to collect is that taken from the churches and NGOs. A few years from now, the Lower Zambezi, will become just another town ravaged by foreign multinational companies leaving sulphur dioxide in their wake. This company will bring more misery to the country’s mining sector.

We appeal to the Hon Kalaba to reverse his decision. We appeal to the PF government to clean up the mess in Mufulira first and foremost. We also appeal to the government to leave the Lower Zambezi National Park free from further exploitation by foreign miners. The returns are not just worth losing our pristine land. It would be terrible to have another Mufulira pollution disaster happen among the Goba of the Lower Zambezi river basin.

(c) 2014, E. Munshya. This article appeared in Zambia’s leading independent newspaper the Daily Nation on Friday 6 February 2014. Munshya wa Munshya Column appears  every Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond “House, Money, Car”: Why Ms. Kay Figo Deserved Compensation

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

Zambia should change laws that unfairly disadvantage women - Munshya

Zambia should change laws that unfairly disadvantage women – Munshya

The facts of the 2012 case of one Ms. Kay Figo and her lover Mr. Van are very well defined. Around 2007 a 55 year-old Mr. Van  met a 21-year Ms. Kay Figo at a Kabwata nightclub. Due to love at first sight, Mr. Van that night invited Ms Kay to his Makeni home.  They  lived together for a period of 5 years. The relationship had broken down for at least two years of those five years. Noting that the relationship had broken down, Ms. Kay sued Mr. Van before the Lusaka Local Court. Ms. Kay’s argument was that she deserved compensation from Mr. Van for lost time while “dating” him. She wanted the court to recognise her time with Mr. Van as deserving some level of legal or equitable recognition. Some reports suggest that Ms. Figo had actually wanted this 5-year cohabitation to be recognized as a common law or some form of customary marriage. Mr. Van argued that, to the contrary, he did not need to compensate her because as far as he was concerned he was not married to her. It was also Mr. Van’s argument that during the 5 years he had lived with Ms. Kay he had tried repeatedly to reach her family so that he could get her to marry him. Reaching family suggest that Mr. Van might have wanted to marry her through customary law and practice. He argues further that she was not willing to introduce him to her family. As such she refused his proposal for marriage. That having been the case, he argued that she was un-deserving of any compensation.

This matter has received lots of media attention. Some in the media have characterized Kay as an “untaught” girl and as a gold digger just out to get Mr. Van for his money. Indeed that Kay was quite specific about the amount of compensation she wanted from her former lover, only went to stoke the suspicions in many that she was an opportunist going for a “house, money and car”.

The Lusaka Local Court reached its decision in October 2012. The local court justices dismissed Ms. Kay’s action declaring that since she had not been married to Mr. Van, she had no recourse to any compensation. The courts declared that there was no valid marriage contract upon which compensation can be ordered. As such, Ms. Kay was unsuccessful in this claim.

I find the decision of the court to be unfair. I wish to paint this decision within a wider framework of both law and tradition to argue that there is need for Zambia to change its legal framework as to recognise compensation in cases such as the one under consideration.

Ms. Kay Figo

Ms. Kay Figo

In Zambia today, there are principally two ways by which marriage can be contracted. The first is marriage under the Act and the second one is the marriage under Zambian traditions and customs. Marriage under the Act is primarily modelled after European system (sometimes misusing the Bible as justification). In this marriage, two people can contract a marriage and have it solemnized by the registrar of marriage or a gazetted minister of religion. The marriages contracted under Zambian laws and tradition is valid only after definite steps are taken. Legal jurisprudence right now as it stands in the Supreme Court precedence is that a marriage under customary law can only be valid if the man has paid some form of dowry or “lobola” to the family of the woman.

The consequence of the law as it stands right now is that regardless of how long a man has lived with a woman, that union cannot be recognized as a marriage unless he has “reached” the woman’s family and some form of dowry has been paid to the woman’s family. It is not my intention to change the way our traditions or the law defines what a marriage is. I would leave that up to the traditionalists and to the Zambian parliament.

My argument is that there has to be some form of legal or customary recognition of some unions contracted in the manner similar to Ms. Kay and Mr. Van’s. My argument is that leaving the law as it is would disadvantage women who are at the receiving end of unbalanced power within society. Indeed, in much of the English Common law jurisdictions, the law has moved on to where it imposes a “marriage” upon any couple that has cohabited for a specific period of time. In Canada for example, the “marriage under common law” is imposed upon any couple that has lived together for at least 12 continuous months. Privileges for such recognition vary from one Canadian jurisdiction to another.

In the case of Zambia, a couple should either be married or if not then it is cohabiting with the later receiving no legal or equitable protection at all. There is no middle ground. Marriage receives both legal and equitable protection while cohabitation does not. I do not wish to encourage cohabitation. Indeed, a marriage is far much better than two people just cohabiting. But there comes a time where women are disadvantaged due to the unfair balances of power after the cohabitation is over. Indeed, in the case of Ms. Kay and Mr. Van, the man took this young girl from a bar and lived with her for 5 years. That they were cohabiting without being married is clear for all to see. But in the event that the relationship comes to an end it would be unconscionable for the woman to walk out of that relationship without some amount of consideration.

She was a de-facto spouse to Mr. Van while she lived with him. She cleaned his house and took out his garbage every night or probably once a week. She worked hard for him. She provided him with the love and affection he needed. This love and affection made him work well and work hard in his businesses. For at least a majority of those five years, she was there for him. Honestly, that after these years she deserved some form of a “house, money or car” from him. He must not be allowed to dismiss her that easily.

Many commentators have discussed how a “gold-digger” Ms. Kay is. In fact, many have questioned her moral values as “ a girl picked from a bar.” Indeed, I find such criticisms very unfair. Why aren’t the same people condemning the 55-year-old Mr. Van who pounced on this innocent girl? Why is it that when it comes to such matters, the woman gets the most condemnation while the man goes scot-free? In fact, Mr. Van has been left off the hook such that there are reports that he has now started another “cohabitation” with another young woman.

If indeed, Ms. Kay is a bar girl, that criticism should also be leveled against Mr. Van who took her from the bar and within the same night took her to his house in Makeni. He loved her and lived with her for five solid years. Honestly, after having enjoyed her youth and her innocence, Mr. Van cannot and should not get away so easily. He must at least offer reasonable compensation to her. It is just the right thing to do.

She has lost the case. Probably, as a controversial musician, she will even sell more records after this episode. However, she will bear the brunt of this saga while Mr. Van goes scot free to begin pouncing on another girl at a shabeen in Shang’ombo.

Only that next time, we must make Mr. Van realize that once he picks another girl, he would not discard her so easily. The “not married to you” nonsense should not be tolerated. If you cannot marry the girl then do not cohabit with her. But if you so wish to cohabit with her then you should be able to offer any compensation that would normally fall on a marriage of similar length. Here is a number from Ms. Figo.

(c) E. Munshya, LLB, M.Div. (2012). This article was originally published on this website on 5 October 2012. It is republished here in 2014. All rights reserved.

Zambia’s New Draft Constitution

Please find attached Zambia’s new draft constitution. This is the Silungwe constitution draft.

CONSTITUTION-OF-ZAMBIA-TECHNICAL-COMMITTEE-AUGUST-2013-3

400px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Zambia

 

DISCLAIMER: This website makes no representation whatsoever as to the accuracy of this document.

People and Events That Will Shape Zambia’s 2014

By E. Munshya, LLB (Hons), MA, MDiv.

The New Year is finally here. We should all be relieved that the year 2013 has come to an end. Each New Year brings to us a fresh perspective on life. And for Zambia, we all should expect a renewed look at what would make our nation better and greater. The shape of any nation is continually fashioned by people and events. In this New Year 2014 there are several events and people I see shaping the way the fabric of our nation shall unfold.

The Year of GBM 

Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) is likely to affect the political field more than any other person this year. GBM’s high profile end-of-year resignation from President Sata’s cabinet has created some perception that he is a courageous politician. In this fresh perception, it does not matter that GBM’s resignation might have been caused by his loss of influence within the PF (Team A v Team B). All that seem to matter to his supporters is that he has shown some courage by quitting and standing up to his former boss. GBM will do well to leverage this momentum. It therefore matters how he will handle himself especially in the coming few weeks.

GBM will shape Zambia's political landscape in 2014

GBM will shape Zambia’s political landscape in 2014

To benefit from this momentum, GBM could choose to launch a political party of his own. But that would be a serious mistake. Launching a new party would only go to crowd an already over-bloated opposition scene. What he needs to do is to be more calculating. The two choices that come to mind are either the MMD or the UPND. Going to MMD has some risk involved. The MMD is a compromised brand. Having another powerful Bemba in MMD, after Nevers Mumba, would prove problematic for GBM. The most formidable step GBM can take is to collaborate with the UPND. This choice would almost certainly be mutually beneficial for both GBM and Hakainde Hichilema. Such a move would make the UPND strong enough to be a serious contender to power in 2016. If GBM were to join the UPND, he could become its Vice-President. In this arrangement, the goal is not to get the Bemba vote to UPND, but to bring the urban vote gravitas to the UPND. As it stands now, GBM cannot dislodge the PF’s stronghold in Bemba-speaking areas in the Luapula-Muchinga corridor. But most certainly, GBM does have the aura in the urban areas to dissuade Lusaka and Copperbelt from continuing with the PF.

In 2014, the political front is not likely to bring any surprises. In the seats that have been nullified, we expect the PF to win in its traditional areas and the opposition to win in their respective areas. It is quite unlikely that the PF will perform well in these by-elections. The MMD is likely to lose some seats to the UPND especially in areas such as Northwestern Province and Barotseland. As far as the Eastern Province is concerned, Nevers Mumba’s MMD is likely to win all the by-elections held there.

The Year of Justice Chibesakunda & Chikopa

Munshya wa Munshya

“2014 – Will be a significant year for Zambia” – Elias Munshya

The Supreme Court will be determining important cases this year. One case that is likely to return to the bench is the Mutuna case, which is being handled by Ndola High Court Judge Siavwapa. I have named this case Mutuna II to differentiate it from the first Mutuna case, which the Supreme Court has already dealt with. What is unusual with Mutuna II is that Judge Siavwapa has maintained that what Mutuna and others are looking for in Mutuna II is quite different from what they wanted in Mutuna I. By distinguishing issues, Siavwapa does seem to have rejected the idea that he is bound by the stare decisis in Mutuna I. We should all closely watch this court case. It will be one of the most significant cases of the year. The fact that this Mutuna II case has stayed the Chikopa Tribunal is also significant. It is quite interesting that 2 years after Chikopa, this tribunal is yet to begin sitting.

The Supreme Court is also likely to hear the case against Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda. In this case, the Law Association of Zambia is challenging Chibesakunda’s occupation of office of Chief Justice. This case is likely to divide the court and in turn is likely to divide the members of the Zambian bar themselves. With about thirty lawyers involved in this court case, it will be one of the greatest cases in the nation’s history. In view of this, Justice Chibesakunda could decide to resign before the hearing. She could also decide to stay and fight it out. If she stays to fight it out, the fights might themselves create a perception among citizens that the judiciary is alienated. For an already mistrusted court, this is the last thing they would want associated with them.

Year of Nullifications

Nullifications of parliamentary seats are likely to continue this year. I do not think that the Supreme Court is nullifying these seats due to some ulterior motive. But I think there is fundamental misinterpretation of the law on the judges’ part. It seems like all the judges do seem to be following a clear pattern. They find an irregularity and this irregularity leads to automatic nullification. This has been the case in almost each of the cases heard by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court does seem to misunderstand the real purpose behind electoral laws. And this is a common misconception that any court can make. In my opinion, for a seat to be nullified at least three questions should be answered in the affirmative.

First, was there a malpractice or electoral irregularity? The second question should be; “was the malpractice or the irregularity so grave as to affect the electoral outcome”? The third question should be, taking into account public policy and interest should the election be nullified? Answering all these in the affirmative should lead to nullification.

It would be a serious mistake if any malpractice or irregularity will automatically lead to nullification, as is the case now. Again, I think the Supreme Court judges have done a great disservice to the nation in the way they continue to interpret and implement the Electoral Act. That being the case, I do not think that they are nullifying seats due to some hidden conspiracy.

The Year of More Kaloba

In terms of economics, things are not looking very bright. If the don’t kubeba government continues along this path, Zambia is likely to continue on its path of accumulating kaloba at unprecedented levels. This year is likely to be the year of more kaloba. Finance Minister Chikwanda’s last act of the last year was to sign a 20-year kaloba in millions of dollars with the Chinese. It is not good for our country to accumulate pre-HIPC debt loads. It is unacceptable. The thing is, Chikwanda’s coffers are dry and in order for him to deliver the so many extreme promises the PF have made he has to resort to borrowing.

50 Years Jubilee

Zambia will be 50 years old this year. This calls for celebration. However, the true celebration should be with the way President Sata decides to rule the nation. He must backtrack on debts. He must also improve his human rights record. At 50, the police should not be detaining people simply for possessing Vermox. Several journalists will be in court in a few days time. They are facing charges connected to their work. In this year, we should all apply the necessary pressure upon government to desist from abrogating press freedom.

Kenneth Kaunda Will be 90!

On a good note, this year Kenneth David Kaunda will be turning 90. And at this age, Kenneth Kaunda will be one of those that will shape Zambia in 2014. It will matter how Kaunda celebrates his 90 years. I just hope that he will not spend it as a partisan demagogue, but as a true compatriot of the people of Zambia. Kaunda belongs to all Zambians. He does not belong to the PF alone and the sooner he realizes that, the better.

Happy New Year Zambia.