FRESHER Siwale has branded the National Dialogue Forum set to start today as an illegal assembly because the law establishing it is in direct conflict with the Constitution.
Siwale says power is spiritual and that President Edgar Lungu has realised that he had lost it and is now clutching on being physical to sustain himself in authority.
President Lungu on April 9, 2019 signed into law the National Dialogue Bill that promulgated the establishment of the National Dialogue Forum whose mandate is to propose amendments to the Constitution, the Electoral Law, public order Act and Political Parties Bill.
However, several stakeholders, including the Church, have disapproved the NDF owing to some provisions that make it mandatory for identified individuals to attend failure to which they face jail time.
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has vowed to be first to break the law on the basis that it was in conflict with the bill of rights.
UPND Chirundu member of parliament Douglas Syakalima has even gone to court seeking to stop operations of the National Dialogue Forum arguing, among other things, that it infringed on his fundamental constitutional rights.
And Siwale yesterday told The Mast that it was a worst experience one could face where somebody runs away from free dialogue to go and organise one while carrying a gun.
“One day we shall be free. We shouldn’t lose hope. When you see a person become so desperate just know they have lost power. You know power is spiritual; it’s not physical. So even himself [President Lungu] knows and he feels it, that he has lost power. And the only way is to go the physical way, that he must sustain himself in power through the police, weaponising of the law. Because basically what is calling the national dialogue is the weaponinising the law so that whoever speaks against that is sent to jail,” Siwale said. “This National Dialogue bill infringes the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia and in so far as it is in conflict with the Constitution of Zambia, it is null and void, okay. As such the gathering that they are preparing for tomorrow is illegal.”
Reminded that a law has been formulated to clothe it with legal authority, Siwale said the law was in conflict with the Constitution, which was “very, very clear that any subsidiary legislation which was in conflict with the Constitution was null and void ab initio, like there was no such law.”
Siwale said the NDF law was in direct conflict with the Bill of Rights – the right of association, freedom of assembly, the right to hold an opinion, to disseminate opinions with others.
“Those are fundamental freedoms. Now when you come to this national dialogue bill, it criminalises anyone who holds a divergent view from those who purport to be in power. This is in direct conflict with the Constitution and as such it is null and void and so the assembly tomorrow is illegal, it has no basis at law,” he said.
“That notwithstanding, there is also the issue of the legality of the Parliament that passed that bill. Were they elected in 2016? All those who are sitting in that House were not validly nominated to be candidates, do they have the power from the people to represent them? Are they the true representatives of the people when power did not transfer from the people to them? That also makes that law null and void.”
Siwale said there were questions about whether President Lungu was validly and duly elected President of Zambia.
“The other thing is that the one who assented to that bill, was he elected in 2016 when he was not a candidate? That also makes that law null and void,” Siwale argued. “I still challenge the Attorney General because up to today the Attorney General has failed to respond to me as to whether Lungu is President of the Republic of Zambia; if he was validly nominated and duly elected as President of Zambia.”
Siwale challenged the Attorney General to clarify that President Lungu was indeed Republican President.
“Why is he in hiding? The role of the Attorney General is to protect and defend government. Let people not misunderstand this when we say government; government is perpetual as established in the Constitution. The people who come into government are just an administration, so the duty of Attorney General is to defend and protect the government from the administrations that come into government,” he explained.
Siwale said the Attorney General is supposed to protect the government from any illegalities committed by government administration in the performance of their duties.
“I am still challenging the Attorney General to state whether Lungu is President of the Republic of Zambia and has the executive power to proceed and perform the executive function of the State in Zambia,” he said.
“As long as he does not confirm, it confirms my fears that these guys are illegally in office and therefore they cannot bring any law into force in this country and therefore tomorrow’s meeting is illegal.”
Siwale bases his arguments on the fact that nomination and ballot papers, elective vice-president, declaration of results forms were only given legal backing after elections had taken place, meaning the prior process (voting and announcing of winners) was illegal. According to Siwale, elections did not take place in 2016 because there was no law sanctioning them.
He holds the view that this was done to ensure that had Hichilema won, the election was going to be nullified on the basis that there was no law backing nominations and the forms for announcement of results.