Sakwiba Sikota


By: Sakwiba Sikota

As we end the year I have been looking at whom to nominate for the Zambia 2023 fair play award. There is a need to recognise and acknowledge people who serve as examples of reaching a higher embodiment of fair play. Something that we should all strive to achieve or become.

I will in the first week of next year make my nominees for those who could be considered for the Zambia 2023 fair play award. In this post I shall try to illustrate what ‘fair play’ is and why it is important.

FIFA has been awarding a fair play award each year to deserving teams, fans or individual players each year. In 2001 Paulo Di Canio stopped the game by taking ball out of play with his hands, when opposing goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was lying badly injured on the ground. The goal was gaping and if Di Canio had no morals he would have fired his team into the lead.

Quite often in football when a player is injured the ball is put out of play. From the resulting throw in taken by the opposite side they will throw the ball back to their opponents who had kicked the ball out. There is no rule or written law that says they should do this but all decent teams and players practice this.

A fair play award can be given even in the political, economic or social playing fields.

Many people such as OCIDA, Transparency International, the Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, most civil society and the Church bodies, have been calling upon President Hakainde Hichilema to publicly declare his assets. Even his ‘Gym Buddies’ like Michael Gonzales the American Ambassador to Zambia have been demanding that President Hakainde make these declarations openly to the public for the sake of transparency, democracy and fair play.

Team UPND has strenuously been resisting these calls and Chief Government Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa argues and claims that the Zambian Constitution does not require President Hakainde Hichilema to do so.

What are the criteria for fair play that are used even in just a game of football as opposed to actions that impact political and social fair play? Respect. For every athlete, playing by the written rules is mandatory, and respecting the unwritten ones is a must. Fair play requires unconditional respect for opponents, fellow players, referees and fans.

If we are to transfer this to answer Team UPND’s reluctance to have HH publicly declare his assets every year we would say, “ Respect. For every politician, playing by the written rules (Constitution and Acts of Parliament) is mandatory, and respecting the unwritten ones is a must. Fair play requires unconditional respect for opponents, fellow political leaders, judiciary, and citizens.”

Di Canio did not plead that the Fifa Rules of Football did not require him to catch the ball and stop playing; he just did the moral and right thing.

Cristiano Ronaldo told a referee to overturn a penalty awarded in his favor during Al-Nassr’s Asian Champions League game against Persepolis. The act of sportsmanship occurred in the second minute of a match in November 2023 as Ronaldo was seemingly brought down in the box, prompting referee Ma Ning to award a penalty to the home side.

Ronaldo approached the referee and argued that the decision should be reversed and that in fact he was not fouled. Referee Ma subsequently went to the pitch-side monitor and ruled out the decision. If Ronaldo had no morals to do the right thing he would have kept quiet and taken the penalty and his side may have won the game which ended up as a draw.

Ronaldo showed integrity and morality as he did not plead that the Fifa Rules of Football did not require him to admit to the referee that it was not a penalty as he was not brought down by his opponent.

Team UPND seems oblivious to ‘The National Values and Principles’ set out in section 9 of Act No. 2 of 2016 which ammends the Constitution of Zambia. It reads, “ (a) morality and ethics;
(b) patriotism and national unity;
(c) democracy and constitutionalism;
(d) human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non- discrimination;
(e) good governance and integrity; and
(f) sustainable development.”

Morality, ethics good governance and integrity are therefore the unwritten “fair play rules” required of Team UPND and its leaders.

HH7 should try to reach the moral standing of Paulo Di Canio, Christiano Ronaldo (popularly called ‘CR7’) and others and show commitment to the spirit of fair play.

The only thing in common between HH7 and CR7 is the seven. If CR7 put on the white gloves of HH7, he would declare his assets. If, however, HH7 were to put on the boots of CR7 in that game last month, HH7 would have insisted on taking the penalty.

Cornelius Mweetwa would give counsel that there was no law requiring CR7 to refuse to take the penalty or HH7 to declare his assets.

It is for this reason that there will be no appearance on the list of nominees by HH7 on the “ZAMBIA 2023 FAIR PLAY AWARD” List.


  1. Bo Sakwiba, why are you always hurting on HH7?
    We know yours and Mmembe’s hatred for HH7has a long history from the time of Mazoka’s demise!
    Don’t you have self-respect to move on from this public display of one of the most primitive emotion of hate?
    We did not see you making the same demands on ECL!
    Why HH7?
    Why are we so unfair and selective?
    Indeed, the government spokesperson was right to say there is no Law requiring the president to make a public declaration of Assets other than to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) when filing nominations!
    As a Lawyer and SC for that matter, I am sure you know where to get that information!
    Access to information is now Law!
    You can get that information from ECZ but don’t use that information with malice, with intent to injure the character and reputation of HH7 which seems to be your favorite pass time!
    Do not bear false witness against anyone! It’s a heinous sin!

  2. I think there is need to differentiate between constitutional offices and non constitutional offices. Constitutional offices requires the office holders to follow for the law to the later but non constitutional offices are not that strict. Yes sometimes it may sound nice to follow moral laws but for constitutional offices it may create legal dilemma for the people involved or the ones that follow. So for me I think it’s always safer to follow legal laws than moral laws for constitutional office holders because if something goes wrong the courts will not look at the moral aspect of the matter but legal aspect only. Let me use an hypothetical illustration here, let’s say someone finds a motorist who has just experienced an heart attack and requires immediate medical attention. Assuming there is no one else there at the scene but the individual who found the said motorist does not have a driver’s license but he can drive quite alright. Let’s say he decides to drive the patient to the hospital for medical attention but along the way they get involved in accident. The law will look at the moral side of the case but the legal side that the personal was not supposed to drive, simple.
    So we need to be careful when pushing for certain things, otherwise, they would come bite us at some stage. If we really want the president to be declaring his/her assets frequently, why not just change the law so that it is mandated upon them to do so not rely on their “moral” conscious and blame those who decide not to use that “moral” conscious.

  3. I think HH has tried but he should be more consultative, no one person is the epitome of wisdom, from the was he has carried himself over the two years, the general feeling is that he decides on his own in most cases, if this assumption is true, l can only urge him to consult widely so that as a team they win together or loose together, otherwise people will wash their hands and point a finger at him only

  4. Chibaba ba Sakwiba that you jumped into a wrong camp kikikikikiki. If only you had persevered! You would have been part of current govt. Zambians no longer condone lawlessness. HH will declare his assets in line with the Constitution in 2026 when filing his nomination papers. Who cares about your awards, try ECL. Chikubabe!!!!

  5. It’s sad to see some people still talking about HH declaring his assets, especially when it’s coming from people like Sakwiba who is a lawyer. HH already declared his assets in 2021 and those who were not satisfied can wait for 2026. Alternatively, HH has gone a step further and signed the ATI bill and they can go to ECZ, they find that information. ATI is now law, ECZ cannot deny anyone who requires that information. Otherwise we don’t have any law in Zambia which requires the president to declare his assets midway his term or annually. Aikona mani, don’t abuse the president, mufuna chiyani kanshi, HH is already very rich, started organizing himself more than 30 years ago.


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