Addressing the 21st Commonwealth Lawyers Association Conference in Livingstone on Tuesday, Edgar Lungu said the importance of adherence to the rule of law could not be over-emphasised as this had from time immemorial been central to political and legal thoughts.
“Notwithstanding the apparent meaning of the rule of law, there is an abundance of examples in the breakdown of laws of countries in the world today and some of us are in this category…the immediate loss and most noticeable is internal confusion, loss of life as a consequence of the breakdown of the rule of law,” said Edgar. “The rule of law is an authoritative legal principal which suggests that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced, the principal of government by law and not by men.”
It’s very easy for anyone to say good or correct things. But Jose Marti said, “Doing is the best way of believing.” Action speaks louder than words! In James 2 we are told that faith without deeds is worthless.
And in The Spirit of Liberty speech at “I am an American Day” ceremony, Central Park, New York City (May 21, 1944), Billings Learned Hand, an American judge famous as an avid supporter of free speech and for applying economic reasoning to American tort law and noted as one of the most influential American judges to have never served on the Supreme Court of the United States, said, “What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it… What is this liberty that must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not the freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check on their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few — as we have learned to our sorrow.
What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.”
In his class day orations (1893), Learned Hand said, “Life is not a thing of knowing only — nay, mere knowledge has properly no place at all save as it becomes the handmaiden of feeling and emotion. We like rather to dream of a body of young men as a live thing, as a tree where all the branches are nourished by a single sap, and where each part is meaningless and incomplete except in connection with its fellows. You may lop away the dead branches, you may bend the trunk, you may dig about it and water it; but leave it to assume its own form, do not constrain the peculiar roots, or you will have a crippled, gnarled monster, and no tree.
The mid-day sun is too much for most eyes; one is dazzled even with its reflection. Be careful that too broad and high an aim does not paralyze your effort and clog your springs of action.”
Following this, we cannot be swayed by Edgar’s sweet nothings written for him by speechwriters which he regurgitated without digesting. His aides have made it clear to all that Edgar doesn’t read or write anything – he is most of the time drunk. He is actually a functional illiterate.
Our major problem in Zambia today is not the lack of a good Constitution or laws. It is people like Edgar corruptly colluding with those running the judiciary, the legislature and law enforcement agencies to kill or undermine the rule of law. When respect for rule of law is absent from hearts of those elected or appointed to the executive, judiciary and legislature no constitutional provision or law will be of value