WYNTER Kabimba says the Law Association of Zambia does not have to form a political party to question President Edgar Lungu’s threatened state of public emergency.
And Kabimba says President Lungu does not own LAZ and is only a member like other lawyers. Meanwhile, Kabimba says he can never go back to the PF because it is not the party that Michael Sata founded.
Speaking on Hot FM radio’s Hot Seat programme today, Kabimba, the Rainbow Party general secretary, wondered why President Edgar Lungu could order the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to form a political party when the Association merely expressed an opinion on a matter that “squarely” fell under its mandate.
On Monday, LAZ, through its president Linda Kasonde, said any exercise of executive power during the threatened state of public emergency must be reasonable.
The Association added that the executive should have also been reluctant to invoke Article 31 despite such power being given to the President under the Constitution. It further clarified that this threatened state of public emergency could not extend beyond three months as there was no power of extension under Article 31.
But before departure for Swaziland on Tuesday, President Lungu told LAZ to form a political party and then take him on.
Where are the lawyers? Where are the lawyers in this country? If the lawyers want to form a political party, let them go ahead and form a political party – let them not abuse the profession [because] it’s a noble one! For me, I challenge them to form a political party; but let them not abuse the profession, okay!
said President Lungu.
“If they want to take me on, on that one they can take me on [because] there is so much politics in the Law Association of Zambia. If they (LAZ) want to form a political party, let them go ahead but to abuse a noble profession like the law profession where I belong, it’s unacceptable! Bye bye.”
But Kabimba has defended LAZ’s position.
When the Church disagreed with President Lungu, why didn’t he ask the Church to form a political party? Why LAZ? The Church told him ‘we are not happy; we think that you are sliding into a dictator, we think that there is tension in the country.’ Why didn’t he tell them to form a political party? And who says that everybody who disagrees with him must form a political party?
Kabimba, a former justice minister in Michael Sata’s government, wondered.
“LAZ has the right…This is a democracy and there are many players in a democracy – the Church, civil society and LAZ is part of the civil society of our country now. In a democracy, bwana, everybody has got a right to express an opinion over a matter, right or wrong. You don’t have to agree with them. To react in the manner that Edgar did that LAZ is being political…If LAZ is saying there were no conditions obtaining that warranted the invocation of Article 31 or the proclamation of the threatened state of emergency, what, in God’s name, is wrong with that statement? Does that statement only have to come from politicians? No! It can come even from a marketeer, it can come from a villager because they are apprehensive about the effects, the consequences of invoking Article 31. It’s not just something that you do without taking into account how it is going to affect the lives of the citizens.”
He insisted that LAZ had a right to express an opinion and that they did not have to form a political party before they could express such an opinion.
LAZ has a mandate and there is nothing they have done outside their mandate for Edgar to say ‘no, this is a noble profession to which I belong’. So what? He is not the only member of LAZ. Who says that just because he is President, LAZ has become his? It’s our association and he is just a member,
“There is nothing that has gone wrong in the legal profession and if you remember, a few months ago, they (PF agents) tried to destroy LAZ. They tried to do divide and rule and they tried to hire a few lawyers within LAZ to form another association – there was an action in court to that effect and some of us came out and condemned that kind of scheme. There is nothing [wrong] that LAZ has done; it is just that it is now working under an environment where the government is not doing the right thing.”
He stressed that LAZ did not have to be in love with the government for them to speak out on matters that affected Zambia.
They have a mandate under the Act to speak on constitutionalism and the proclamation of a threatened state of emergency is a constitutional issue. LAZ was not talking about how tomatoes should be sold…LAZ was not talking about how people should be buried at the Memorial Park [because] then you can say but why are you talking about burying and cremating of people? It was talking about an issue which falls squarely within its mandate and jurisdiction and it has a duty; not [a duty] to the government, mind you, but to the Zambian people,
Kabimba, also a lawyer, explained.
He further reiterated that the invocation of Article 31 by President Lungu had been mishandled and that it would not produce the desired results.
Let’s pick the case of the burning down of the local court building in Mongu; they picked up a guy there called Munukayumbwa and he’s been in police custody for the last 30 days. Who reported him to the police? PF functionaries! He was not picked up on account of police investigations – the PF characters in Mongu, for whatever reasons; political or otherwise, went to the police and said ‘this is the man’,
“The police also, because they are succumbing to political pressure, they go and pick up the poor guy; lock him up for 30 days and then they discover they have no evidence [against him] and they enter a nolle. So, there will be many people that will be victims of this subjectivism and PF enthusiasm and trying to settle scores with those that don’t agree with PF and they are many of us, fortunately. The numbers of those that don’t envy PF are growing in the country…”
Meanwhile, Kabimba observed that the PF of Sata, its founder, had been replaced by some dishonest MMD elements.
We hear these stories from PF that Wynter is coming back. That is a lie! Going back to where? After all, the PF that I joined is not the PF that is there today. So, I’m going back to where? It’s just PF now by tag, by name. That is not Michael Sata’s PF! That is PF composed of the same people that we condemned in 2010/2011 that they were corrupt, that they were money launderers, that they were leaders that were steeped into self-interest and self-preservation. All the vices that we defined in 2010/2011 in the human beings that were in MMD have today been supplanted into PF. So, which PF would I go back to? If you give it another name, other than PF, then maybe I can think about it!
said Kabimba, a former PF secretary general.