Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Zambia – missed opportunities

In a dramatic court judgment that most people had not anticipated, former MMD president Rupiah Banda was acquitted of the Nigerian oil deal case on the grounds that the state failed to prove a  case
against him.

When delivering judgment the Ndola magistrate stated that the state lack enough evidence against Banda, who was alleged to had facilitated a contract t o import oil from Nigeria in 2009, in which the Zambian government was swindled of £2.6m.

The political legacy of the late president Sata has been dealt a severe blow in the sense that it was Sata who had instructed the anti-corruption to investigate Banda in 2012. This followed the removal of his presidential or political immunity by the public prosecutor Mutembo Nchito.

The dismissal of Nchito by President Edgar Lungu has now paid its dividends in the sense that Banda supported and campaigned for Lungu during the January 30th presidential by-elections.

The extent to which Lungu has gone in incorporating corrupt elements in the ruling party is alarming if not self vindictive.

It is quite evident that when Sata died in London he had not groomed a political leader to succeed him. The vacuum of political leadership in the PF came to reveal itself after the death of the president in 2014. the political crisis was instigated by the Attorney-General Musa Mwenye when he appointed Vice-President Guy Scott to serve as acting president when he left Zambia for medical treatment abroad in September 2014.

President Lungu’s rise to political eminence was rapid within the PF – he was appointed as minister of defence when the former PF Kasama central member of parliament resigned in 2013. In 2014 Lungu was appointed as acting minister of justice and PF secretary-general, when Sata had dismissed Wynter Kabimba. He was appointed as acting president when Sata left for his medical treatment abroad.

The appointment of vice-president Guy Scott to serve as acting president was made under constitutional law, which stipulates that the Attorney General reserves the right to appoint a serving vice-president to serve as acting president when the head of state cannot physically discharge his presidential duties due to ill health or death.

The power vested in the republican president to appoint someone to act as vice-president whenever he leaves the country is a political prerogative made in good faith – it demonstrates how inadequate is the Bill of Human Rights and wide the powers given to the head of state.

The Zambian constitution needs to be reformed in order to curb the powers of the president. In 2004 the second republican president amended the Zambian constitution when is inserted a clause that disenfranchised any person whose first parents [?] were not indigenous Zambians by birth. The racialist clause was made in order to disenfranchise Dr Kenneth Kaunda from contesting the 2006 presidential elections.
The first republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda was born in Zambia in 1924, but his father and mother originated from Malawi.

There developed political faction s with the Pf after president Sata died between those who supported the appointment of Vice-President Guy Scott and those who rallied themselves behind Edgar Lungu. The political faction supporting Lungu was in a majority within the ruling party.

Ninety days after the demise of President Sata the PF held a political conference at which he was to elect a party president to succeed Sata.

On 30th December 2014 Edgar Lungu was unanimously elected as president during an election that was boycotted by eight other PF presidential candidates, among them Dr Christine Kaseba, Chilufya Sata, Miles Sampa and Chishimba Kambwili.

The Patriotic Front was formed by President Sata and his wife Dr Kaseba. In 20.. [?] it was later joined by Guy Scott, Given Lubinda and Wynter Kabimba.

The fact is that it was too early for Sata to groom a political successor in ???? the fact that the PF was in power for only three years. It is also true that Sata did not anticipate his death when he appointed Lungu as acting president in September 2014.

Thus, Lungu like Banda became acting presidents by chance outside factors (the deaths of presidents Michael Sata and levy Mwanawasa respectively).

Because Edgar Lungu was a member of parliament for Chawama constituency ??? holds a degree in law is not enough excuse to warrant him becoming republican president. The man is a seasoned alcoholic and he collapsed when addressing a public rally.

Indeed, President Lungu is not averse to tribalism and is very reluctant to caution his minsters from uttering tribalism verbiage directed against certain tribes.

The Zambian domestic economy has been facing many problems which Lungu has failed to resolve, given the fact that previous presidents were known to personally intervene whenever there was a dire economic crisis.

Rising fuel prices, the depreciating Zambian currency (the kwacha) and electricity blackouts are some of the major economic problems that Lungu has shown no imitative to rectify.

The arrest of Post newspaper managing editor Fred Meembe is the latest clamping down of press freedom taking place under the PF government.

The political slogan ONE ZAMBIA ONE NATION is now flagrantly used by Lungu to camouflage corruption, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism taking place in the PF.

Indeed, the late president Sata will be remembered for his readiness to dismiss corrupt elements from the PF – he always championed the aspirations of workers, peasants and students.

The current Zambian political constitution is flawed and needs to be reformed or amended in the sense that it safeguards the political and economic privileges of the ruling political elites at the expense of opposition political parties. For instance, the Public Order Act can be applied to arrest journalists for publishing classified information and restrict political demonstrations.

Kitwe, Zambia

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