An Open Letter To The President Of The Republic Of Zambia Mr. Hakainde Hichilema- Hon. Given Katuta

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Given Katuta

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA MR. HAKAINDE HICHILEMA

Your Excellency Sir,

Greetings,

Re: Appointment of ECZ Commissioners

The post of Commissioner for Electoral Commission of Zambia is critical to the promotion and protection of our democracy, particularly at a time when democracy, human rights standards and mechanisms face enormous pressure.

This role is key for the achievement of free, credible and fair elections which is the benchmark of our democracy and the peace that this country has enjoyed in the past decades.

I represent and work closely with human rights defenders, victims of violations and affected communities, as well as opposition political parties who have been silenced through arbitrary arrests and intimidation by your government. In this capacity, I write to you regarding the process for appointing the Commissioners of ECZ as well as the key qualifications and qualities required for the position.

The post Commissioner should be filled by someone of high moral standing and personal integrity, and who is independent and impartial and possesses competency and expertise in the field of human rights. It requires a champion of democracy, who is courageous and principled.

Your nominees should have a proven record of effective public advocacy, as well as demonstrated experience working with defenders and victims of violations. The post requires a strong commitment to addressing discrimination, inequality, oppression and injustice in all its forms, as well as combating impunity and pursuing redress and accountability for all human rights violations and abuses, including those committed by past governments.

The Commissioner’s role is to be the nation’s leading human rights advocate, as distinct from the role of a diplomat or political envoy. Demonstrating solidarity with the majority and publicly calling out abuses should take precedence over friendly dialogue with the executive.

The process of nominating the Commissioners is critical to identifying the most qualified candidates and ensuring the credibility of their appointment. This process should be open, transparent and merit-based. It should involve wide and meaningful consultation with independent human rights organisations and human rights defenders.

Given the above I find it extremely difficult to endorse the nomination of individuals who have exhibited public support of your political party.I have no doubt in my mind regarding the issue of competence of your nominees. However, Ms. Mwangala Zaloumis’ RED photo has gone viral on social media, while Mr. Mcdonald Chimpenzi was recently running a politically inclined civil society organization. As confirmed by your human rights commissioner that the ECZ commissioners are too close to the UPND.

I look forward to your response and to meaningful civil society engagement with this process.

Yours faithfully,

Rev. Given Katuta Mwelwa

8 COMMENTS

  1. UPND has the majority in parliament and asking parliament to ratify an appointment is the same as asking the HH-led UPND to decide whether to go against their President. The law is illogical here. Mrs Mwelwa is right. HH is WRONG. Having said that, it is very difficult, yea, well nigh impossible in Zambia today to find a single person who is non-partisan and is not sympathetic to one party or another. Even judges have political sympathies.

  2. I appreciate the concerns raised by Hon Katuta but if this is how we are going to treat our President, then we are going to make his work very difficult. I don’t think he is going to manage responding to anyone who raises a concern, e.g. MPs, Clergy, Opposition Leaders, Activists, Media directors, individual citizens etc. Appointments are only made by the President after receiving recommendations from relevant authorities, the President appoints, but the appointments are still subject to ratification by parliament. That is how things are done in all democracies like USA and others. So these appointments are still going to Parliament for ratification where Hon. Katuta is a member, she will add her voice there and there is no need to write a personal letter to the President.
    Having said that, I tend to agree with the SAINT on one part, it is very difficult, yea, well nigh impossible in Zambia today to find a single person who is non-partisan and is not sympathetic to one party or another. Even judges have political sympathies and that is very true. But it is wrong and very unfair to blame the President every time he makes an appointment, I am sure every President would like to bring in people he feels he can work with, and not those who want to bring him down, Sata did the same, he even brought in a judge from Malawi at the tax payers’ money. I am sure he had his own reasons for doing that. Lungu brought in his own, because no one can claim that he worked with independent people, Ruto also did the same, few days into office, he appointed his own judges and did away with Kenyatta appointed ones, assuming that he was ready for any eventualities, especially the petitions by the Kenyatta supported opposition. In Zambia, PF was boasting and is still boasting that their people are still holding strategic positions in the new dawn government and they are the one still in control. Which government or president would want to be controlled by another person or people even when they are the minority in parliament? So there is nothing unique about what is happening in Zambia, that is how appointments are done everywhere. To say that the law is illogical because UPND has the majority in Parliament is tantamount to saying that Democracy is illogical because in Democracy, the majority wins and there is nothing one can do about it.

  3. This so called reverend is a problem. Her behavior in parliament is outrageous. She’s very emotional, debates are un coordinated. How can she write to the president and in which capacity. Further more she’s even citing wrong or incomplete qualifications of an ECZ commissioner. As a member of parliament she should have waited to debate the motion to ratify the candidates instead of behaving like a loose canon. All the commissioners qualify according to the constitution. Perhaps her only reasons are based on her tribal or regional bigotry !

  4. THE RESPONSE YOU WANT FROM THE PRESIDENT WILL NOT BE THERE. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME WRITING TO THE PRESIDENT. HOW CAN A CORPS BE WRITING TO THE PRESIDENT? PF IS DEAD AND YOU ARE A PF MEMBER YOU ARE DEAD WITH YOUR USELESS ORGANIZATION.. TELL THE NATION HOW YOU OBJECTED WHEN YOUR PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU APPOINTED MVUNGA A PF CADRE AS BANK OF ZAMBIA GOVERNOR. WHERE WERE YOU? DID MVUNGA QUALIFY OR HE WAS THERE TO JUST PRINT MONEY FOR PF! CHIPENZI STICKS TO THE TRUTH THAT HE PICKS FROM THE LAWS OF ZAMBIA AND HE TALKS NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. THAT IS WHAT EVERY ZAMBIAN WANTS AT ECZ. CADRE ISM IS GONE WITH YOU. THOSE APPOINTED DESERVE THE APPOINTMENTS.

  5. THOSE WHO ARE MERELY CRITICIZING WITHOUT MENTIONING THOSE THEY THINK ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE POST OF COMMISSIONER WILL BE VIEWED AS MERE “NOISE MAKERS”. SUGGEST NAMES SO THAT WE ALSO GAUGE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS ROLE BASED ON THE CONCRETE EXAMPLE GIVEN. SO HON. GIVEN SHOULD HAVE GIVEN US A NAME OR NAMES SHE THINKS CAN BE GIVEN THE JOB.

  6. In this woman I see a beautiful lady on the outside but rotten inside, she has been working with the rotten PF and never raised any issue when Esau Chulu announced inflated figures in Petauke and announced fake results for Chitulika constituency. These idiots must not take HH’s tolerance for weakness so that every dirty diaper and dirty nappy must tell him what to do and not to do. STUPID IDIOTS.

  7. Well articulated honourable, But as a Member of Parliament you should spend more time on write up. e.g. give us the regulations which give the required qualifications of an electoral commissioner you are giving. If there are just your imagination and not stipulated anywhere anywhere, well, well. I expect more thorough discourse from our MPs, but so far I just hear noise.

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