Every country has a leader sitting in the Presidency at any given time. Some of these leaders are illegitimate, others are dictators, others are corrupt while others are legitimate and have the respect of the citizenry. Zambia has a president as a matter of necessity. Some of us believe that he was not legitimately elected, and we have good reasons for it. We have a democratic right to hold this view until or unless the courts of law prove us wrong.
When Journalist Sindele of Pan African radio asked me if I would accept a job from Mr Edgar Lungu, I responded that I would not entertain such an offer as we consider President Lungu’s presidency illegitimate.
My call to politics is to infuse morality and integrity into the fabric of Zambian politics. To accept any type of job from such a regime would compromise my own fight for morality and integrity. We continue to urge Mr Lungu and the PF to consider legitimizing the presidency as an emergency. The courts must rule on the petition and free us from the unnecessary strife which is tearing our nation apart.
It is against this background that we find the lies and words of one Sunday Chanda of PF claiming that I have been meeting Mr Lungu as repugnant. Is there any co ordination between his office and State House? Why doesn’t he make an investigation at the gate of State House and ask if I have been to state house since the disputed election. The last two meetings with Mr Lungu were in October 2015 during the national day of prayer and fasting and in January 2016 during the signing of the New Constitution into law at Heroes stadium. The question is, why would one create such a lie that I have been meeting Mr Lungu post the 2016 election? What is it meant to achieve?
Both lies and corruption have the same root. Zambia is now at sea, trapped in a “corruption boat” without a captain.
Our only explanation is, either Sunday Chanda is abusing some hard substance or he has become morally bankrupt. I brought Sunday both into politics and the lime light. I made him my special assistant and encouraged him to embrace the values of faith. I took him around the country and region to meet honorable church and political leaders long before anyone ever heard of Sunday Chanda. Unfortunately, it appears as though my young man has thrown all that to the wind. While I cannot restrain any of my sons in the Lord or those young people I have helped along the way from insulting me, I will never humiliate any of them in public. It is for this reason that I leave Sunday Chanda in the care of his conscience and the conviction of the Lord. The only thing I ask of him is to give to the nation the dates when I am said to have met Mr Lungu. Sunday knows that I walked with him through the darkest seasons of his life. I know where I got him from and I know what constitutes his history but I will not abuse the oversight God gave me over his life to embarrass him. He is still my son and all his brothers are family. The choice of “stomach” above honor remains his prerogative.
I have however written several letters to Mr Lungu since the disputed election. I have not received a single reply. I have therefore decided to start releasing them so that the Zambians can know that my type of politics is meant to help resolve the conflicts and not heighten them.
To day I release the third letter I wrote to Mr Lungu after the disputed election. It addressed the tension in the country arising from the incarceration of Mr Hakainde Hichilema, President of the UPND.
As a Christian people, let us embrace truth as our standard. Truth will set our nation free.
God bless our country.
LETTER NO. 3 TO PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU:
(28th May 2017)
Mr Edgar Lungu
President of the Republic of Zambia
May 28th 2017
There comes a time when a State Counsel in court has to look beyond the interest of the client to the interest of the State. Similarly, those of us who have had the privilege to serve in highly responsible positions of President and Vice President or any other similar position, have an obligation to look beyond our immediate interest to the interest of the nation. It is against this background I am writing this letter to you in total humility to God and a sense of a high call to the values that hold us together as a nation.
The greatness of any leader lies in his or her ability to accept that being human, we shall falter and make mistakes and sometimes, very grave mistakes. This attitude is necessary in making amends. The assumption that a leader, never goes wrong and any one who challenges his views ought to be punished is the beginning of the unravelling of any institution or society.
My focus in this letter is not to discuss your presidency but to look at the state of the nation, in which all of us have an equal stake. It appears to me and many Zambians that our nationhood is under great threat. The image of our nation is no longer what it used to be and we seem to be creating an atmosphere of perpetual hostility which in the end has the potential to bring untold sufferings to all of us especially our children and our children’s children. We must cast aside our perceived camps and rally around salvaging the integrity of our nation. Whether the current crisis in the nation is caused by the Patriotic Front or not is not my focus, at least for now, but that the nation needs to rally together and resolve the current dispute which has divided the nation.
Zambia stands divided. This is because God made man to be a free moral agent, with the capacity to disagree with his neighbor on any matter. Democracy entrenches this phenomenon. It is how leadership manages these differences which confirms whether that leadership has succeeded or not. A successful leadership is one which brings a divided nation to a place of consensus. To dismiss one side of the argument by use of police force or intimidation is a futile exercise in any society. Such an approach can seem to be working for a while but cannot be sustained. Examples abound, including the evils of apartheid in South Africa and segregation of the United States. Both these regimes appeared indomitable and unstoppable, but today, they are no more. Zambia’s differences cannot be resolved by sheer state power. It is unsustainable. It is for this reason, I am proposing a better way to redeem our nation. To every coin, there are two sides.
Like a host of other Zambians, I hold a different view on the recent developments in the nation from those held by yourself and those who support your views. For instance, I hold the view that the election of August 2016, does not reflect the will of the majority of Zambians. I hold the view that the election petition was manipulated by the ConCourt. I hold the view that the speaker of the National Assembly should have acted as President during the life of the petition. I hold the view that your government should not have banned political meetings for the opposition. I hold the view that you, Mr President should have condemned the brutal manner in which the police conducted themselves in the arrest of UPND leader at his private home. Furthermore, like many Zambians, I remain deeply disappointed that your party immorally attacked the MMD Party by sponsoring an illegal convention spearheaded by your minister of home affairs Hon Kampyongo in May 2016 that has been a source of great confusion and a continuing threat to multiparty politics. Many Zambians share my views and naturally many others may share yours.
In this letter, I have proposed that we agree not to have our differences destroy our nation, but that we subject our differences as a people to a fair process of resolving them as we have done in the past. We must preserve Zambia. Our differences will come and go, but our nation must remain. Mr President, you are not the first leader of Zambia to face such daunting challenges. All presidents since independence went through a “night season” of national tension. We however notice that whenever such tension engulfed the nation, we resorted to dialogue. President Chiluba called it Insaka, while President Mwanawasa called it Indaba. Whatever name you may choose, the truth of the matter is that Zambia’s solutions are hidden in the collective wisdom of all Zambians and never in one individual or any singular political party.
The crisis and the instability our nation faces today arises from several missed opportunities which if we are united again, we are able to fix, together.
1. The August 2016 General Election:
The handling of the election by Electoral Commission of Zambia and the consequent results have been disputed by other participants in the said election. The ECZ missed an opportunity to address the many questions that arose including the absence of G12 forms. This opportunity was lost. The Electoral Commission of Zambia failed the nation.
2. The Election Petition:
Clause 127(1) of the Constitution states;
“Any person may file an election petition before the constitutional court, which shall be presided over by the Chief Justice, to challenge the election of the President elect on any question….”
A petition is a grievance. A grievance MUST be heard in order to restore peace and unity in the nation. Any attempt to technically silence a grievance has never translated into peace anywhere in the world. It was the responsibility of all arms of government to ensure that the grievance is heard and disposed off. This we did not do. The ConCourt decided to contradict itself by setting dates to hear the petition only to reverse their decision on the day of trial. This singular act is responsible for most of the paralysis taking place today. The Judiciary failed the nation and have now created the insecurity we all feel.
Arising from the decision of the court not to hear the petition, a size able number of Zambians have elected not to recognize you as the legitimately elected President. While this may sound offensive, it is the natural consequence of the court’s failure to do its job. The courts have created this animosity.
3. Disregard for the Constitution:
Under clause 127(3) of the constitution it stipulates as follows;
” Where any person files an election petition under clause (1) and the incumbent President is the President elect, the speaker shall discharge the executive functions and if the speaker is, for any reason not able to discharge the executive functions the first deputy speaker shall discharge those functions.”
The Speaker did not respect the constitution to act as President even when the constitution clearly stated so. Neither did you voluntarily step aside to allow this process to take place. An application of compliance was made to both the ConCourt and the speaker himself but they both disregarded it. Such actions are trigger points for anarchy in the nation. The Legislature failed the Nation.
4. “Banned” opposition political activities:
The basic rights in any democracy include, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of speech and the freedom of association.
Opposition parties in Zambia are not allowed to assemble, march or appear on ZNBC, a public broadcaster which covers the whole country. This policy of the Patriotic Front has heightened the tension and anger in Zambia’s political space. The police have teargassed, arrested and committed to court all major opposition leaders who dare speak against the mistakes of government as a way of stifling freedoms of the opposition. The Police Service has failed the Zambian people.
5. Injurious Foreign Policy:
Zambia is slowly being isolated by the international community because of its policy of high handed ness against foreign nationals. Through the new Ministry of Religious affairs, international Church leaders are now sent back at our international airport, an act which will soon be reciprocated by other nations. The minister of Religious affairs has failed the nation.
Through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Chairman of Southern African Platform For Democratic Change (SAPDC), Mr Mmusi Maimane was inhumanely treated at our airport and deported to South Africa without being allowed to come out of the plane. This is all because, he came to show solidarity to his incarcerated colleague, Hakainde Hichilema. The Minister of Home Affairs has failed the Nation.
6. The brutal arrest of Mr Hakainde Hichilema:
The arrest and charging of Mr Hichilema with treason has relegated our nation to the lowest rank on the list of african democracies. The world has roundly condemned us. Our governance record is under threat and our co-operating partners are reviewing their relationships with us. This is as it should be because multilateral aid and budget support must be underpinned by good governance, which in our case has come under great question. The Patriotic Front government has failed us.
Mr President the narration of events above is to help us understand that our current crisis has not happened in a vacuum. We have brought this pain on ourselves. To change this we need to cast aside the blame game and correct these wrongs on behalf of our children who definitely deserve better. I am sure you have noticed that different wings of government have been blamed for specific actions or lack of them, but all in all, the buck stops at your desk as President.
We must resolve this stand off in order to avoid losing the great reputation our nation has earned for herself since independence. We are now being likened to nations we never thought could be compared to us on issues of democracy, rule of law, observance of human rights and peace. If you love our country, which I believe you do, we invite you to join the broader group of Zambians who desperately wish to restore the dignity of our nation. The problems outlined above are created by ourselves and therefore God expects us to use our collective wisdom to solve them. And solving them we can and we shall.
In proposing what we should do, I am in no way trying to take the place of your advisors nor do I think that I alone hold the answers to our current crisis, but I believe that as a minister of the Gospel and as someone who has served my nation in a high position of responsibility, I can advance a few thoughts towards resolving our conflicts.
The scriptures provide for us guidance on the type of leadership, which pleases God.
David was described as a man after God’s own heart. I have searched the scriptures to try to understand what God’s heart is like. I discovered that David never rejoiced in the pain or death of his enemies. Even when he could have been justified for hating those who planned evil against him, but he never once rejoiced in the misfortune of his opponents. This set him apart as a true Godly leader.
King Saul was hunting for David’s life and never once did David disrespect or hate Saul. 1 Samuel 24:4-8…”Then David arose and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily, and it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s Skirt…. He said to his servants, ‘the Lord forbid that I do this to my master, the Lord’s anointed.”
When Saul died in battle, the young man who helped him to finish off his life at the request of Saul himself was killed by David for killing Saul; 2 Sam 1:1-16….” And David said to the young man, how wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?”
David’s son Absalom in 2 Sam.15 conspired against his father and overthrew him from the throne; an act beyond treason. Absalom became the greatest enemy to David and yet when his Army Commander Joab killed Absalom, David who should have been happy wept uncontrollably for his son. 2 Sam 18:33…”And the King was much moved…. And wept: Oh my son Absalom, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee….”
Mr President, both God and Zambians have expectations from you. To ensure that justice is equitably distributed among all Zambians including to your perceived opponents. I am of the strongest view that you ought to have addressed the nation after the petition was thrown out, after the brutal arrest of Mr Hichilema, after the deportation of church leaders and after the deportation of Mr Mmusi Maimane to distinguish yourself as a leader for all and not just the interests of your party. The opportunity to do so was sadly missed resulting in the current crisis. I however believe that in the Lord there is always room to change direction in repentance and start afresh.
Mr President, the purpose of this letter is to ask you to initiate a process of healing for our nation. While all of us are expected to play our different roles in achieving this, the burden of responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders. I propose that you communicate to the nation to propose the way out of this crisis. In your message, we propose that you deal with all the points of conflict in the past eight months, amongst them are;
On the 2016 election and the petition:
“You should encourage the courts to speed up the case which has been before Judge Chitabo so that justice is seen to be done and encourage the Supreme Court to rule on the question of human rights and need for the petition to be heard as soon as possible.”
On the Speaker’s abrogation of the constitution when he was supposed to act as President:
” That the courts pronounce their verdict on the constitutional requirement for the president elect to stand down during the life of the Petition.” The courts are yet to pronounce a ruling on this matter and as President you should encourage them to do it expeditiously.
On Police’s misapplication of the Public Order Act:
” You should condemn the police for being unprofessional and usurping the powers of parliament by making non existent ‘laws’ which ultimately have banned all public meetings and processions organized by the opposition. Direct that all Zambians be allowed to assemble, speak and associate with anyone without the interference of the police.”
On the arrest of Mr Hakainde Hichilema:
” You should condemn the police for the unlawful manner in which they arrested Mr Hichilema at his private home. Condemn the torture, the teargassing of a house occupied by women and children. Also announce that you are changing the police command by dropping Mr Kanganja as the IG as a way to show your commitment for the respect human rights of all Zambians.”
On the deportation of the DA leader Mmusi Maimane:
“You should condemn the immigration command and the police command for illegally storming a foreign aircraft to harass and detain the DA leader and his delegation; for confiscating their phones and iPads. Advise the officers that what they did was unlawful and embarrassing to the nation and absolutely unnecessary. The delegation should have been allowed to leave the plane and present themselves before the immigration officers and if there were any concerns, they could have taken them to the interview room where they could have summoned lawyers to come and represent them. If they still felt that Mr Maimane was a threat to Zambia’s security, they still could have sent him back after the interview. This is what happens all over the world including the United States. In this regard, the Chief immigration officer and whosoever gave the command must be relieved of their duties publicly.”
Additionally, I propose that you address the nation and recast a new beginning for the country. That new beginning should include the debate and dialogue as proposed in the catholic bishop’s pastoral letter.
I await your favorable response.
Zambia Shall be Saved.