I HAVE in the recent past observed that the Patriotic Front is one of the most intolerant political parties to have governed this country. PF as a government and party do not tolerate dissenting voices. The PF wants all the people and organisations to do its bidding; to support it whether doing wrong things. John Sangwa, SC is one of the latest victims of the PF’s intolerance and despotic way of governing this country. The crime Mr Sangwa has committed is to stand up to the mighty PF government and party by stating that President Lungu, the PF’s preferred candidate for the 2021 poll, does not qualify to run for presidency because he has already held office twice. Mr Sangwa has also stated that the Constitutional Court did not pronounce President Lungu eligible to stand in the 2021 poll.
The PF party with its government expected Mr Sangwa to clap for them and support President Lungu’s third term bid. To the PF’s disappointment, Mr Sangwa and other independent legal minds have refused to endorse Mr Lungu and PF’s desire to rape our Constitution. Mr Sangwa decided to defend the Constitution not his tummy like what many other lawyers have been doing. As a result of defending the Constitution, Mr Sangwa began receiving insults from PF members and briefcase party leaders (who cannot even feed their families). They purported that Mr Sangwa was a hired gun by the opposition, the United Party for National Development (UPND). These bunch of people who have no livelihood apart from slandering others have gone further by insinuating that Mr Sangwa was too broke to feed; he was trying to make money through President Lungu’s eligibility debate.
I find this annoying because despite what Mr Sangwa is going through, he cannot fail to take care of himself and his family; he is fighting this battle for the love of this country. Further, I find it shocking that even Form II PF officials would label Mr Sangwa a “dull” lawyer. Mr Sangwa’s knowledge and experience in teaching Constitutional Law and practicing law in this country cannot be questioned. He is a Master of Constitutional law and many people like Tutwa Ngulube who are now insulting him tapped into Mr Samngwa’s reservoir of knowledge on Constitutional Law.
To try to further embarrass and frustrate Mr Sangwa, last Friday the PF government, through the courts, banned Mr Sangwa from appearing in any court in the Republic of Zambia and the Law Association of Zambia was written to condemn Mr Sangwa for disparaging the court. It is unfortunate that the PF party and government have infiltrated even the courts of law. We Zambians hold the Judiciary in high esteem; we look at the judiciary as an impartial judge. Why was the Judiciary quick to bar Mr Sangwa from appearing before any courts in Zambia without allowing LAZ first to punish him if he was found wanting? It is clear the Judiciary’s action towards Mr Sangwa was politically influenced. The PF party and government are behind what the Judiciary is doing against Mr Sangwa.
I have followed Mr Sangwa on all his debates on President Lungu’s eligibility. He has been sober and articulated issues well for everyone to understand. He has never insulted the Judiciary but just pointed out that the court misguided itself by changing the question posed by the petitioners without involving the interested parties. Does this amount to disparaging the court? Do the courts in Zambia want people not to comment on their rulings? I am disappointed that the Judiciary could get involved in a political issue by siding with the PF party and government.
Now, threatening citizens and organisations with negative sanctions is the nature of the PF party and government. It does not believe in constructive debate but in silencing the opposing voice. Many organisations such as unions (UNZALARU) have been victims of the PF’s dictatorial tendencies. And today Mr Sangwa is barred from appearing before any court in Zambia. To the PF party and government, this will make Mr Sangwa submit to their last hope of clinging to power, the third term bid. It is shameful for the PF party to wish to file in President Lungu in 2021 when he is not eligible. Besides his illegibility, President Lungu has failed to inspire confidence in our nation. The economy is falling, the currency is gone, workers in councils, colleges and universities are on work boycott because of delayed salaries, a 25kg bag of breakfast mealie-meal is over K230 and unemployment is soaring.
As I conclude, I wish to say that all those that are fighting people like Mr Sangwa using institutions of governance such as the Judiciary should know that everything has a beginning and an end. This applies to the PF; it has a beginning and an end. Soon or later, the PF party will not be in power and all those that have abused their powers to fix ordinary citizens like John Sangwa will one day pay; they will be made to answer charges in the same courts they are abusing. To Mr Sangwa, I wish to urge him not to despair because he is standing on the right side of history and the people Zambia and governments to come after PF will never forget him for standing up to a tyrannical government.