VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga says shuttling between State House and Mukobeko Maximum Prison of foreign dignitaries points to the political tension that Zambia is currently embroiled in.
And Mwaanga has questioned the relevance of the Constitutional Court in its current composition. Last week on Saturday, former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo met President Edgar Lungu at State House in Lusaka to seek permission to visit incarcerated UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe.
The statesman later flew to Mukobeko where he held a meeting of over two hours with Hichilema. And on Monday, Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland visited Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Prison, possibly to reconcile the two leaders. Scotland later returned to Mukobeko yesterday for a further meeting with Hichilema after briefing President Lungu of her visit.
Speaking on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy, Mwaanga observed that the continued incarceration of Hichilema had brought about tension in the country.
The current issue can be seen from the stream of foreign visitors who have been coming into Zambia in the last few days, shuttling between State House and Mukobeko Prison over the incarceration of UPND president Hakainde Hichilema. The fact that the Constitutional Court of Zambia, which was set up under the Constitution, which was adopted in 2016 failed to hear the election petition, which was brought before it…. This has now led us into a situation where there’s been tension in the country involving political parties. Not having heard the presidential petition has brought problems which were unforeseen,
He wondered which country those propagating that there was no tension in Zambia lived.
I know that there are a number of Zambians who deny the fact that there is tension in the country. I keep [on] asking myself which country they live in! If they lived in the same Zambia that I live in, they would have felt that there is tension. It is discernible in the communities that we live in…
“There has been absence of dialogue among our political leaders where parties are not talking to each other but are only talking at each other and this has been part of the problem, which has gotten us to where we are today. Those who don’t admit that there is political tension in the country are living in denial.”
And Mwaanga said the amateurish conduct of the ConCourt had thrown Zambia into political disarray.
The inability of the Constitutional Court to hear the petition brings into focus, as far as I’m concerned, the relevance of that court or at least the membership of that court and whether the right people were selected to serve on the court or not. I seem to have come to the conclusion that perhaps we have the wrong people on the court and there’s need to re-look at the composition of that court with the view to appointing more experienced judges who will be able to stick to their word and not mislead petitioners like the last court did,