John Sangwa

By Leah Ngoma

Constitutional Lawyer John Sangwa says the cholera outbreak in the country is an indication of a breakdown of law and order as some institutions and individuals do not understand their functions and how a country should be governed.

Speaking when he featured on Tuesday’s edition of let the people talk programme on Phoenix FM this morning, Mr Sangwa says the constitution is very clear on the role of the central, provincial and local government but notes that there is currently confusion as to who should perform which function.

Mr Sangwa says it is not the responsibility of the head of state or Ministers to inspect cholera treatment centers or monitoring adherence to cholera preventive measures in markets as this is the responsibility of local authorities.

He explains that the role of the central government is to ensure local authorities are adequately funded to ensure provision of clean water and proper sanitation among other services hence recent inspections conducted by the president and the ministers to cholera treatment centers are tantamount to interference and against the law.

Mr Sangwa says what the country needs going forward is to restore law and order and ensure local authorities are well funded as they understand what needs to be done at local level to prevent such outbreaks.


  1. Cholera is a Zambians citizen from as way back as the latter UNIP days!
    UNIP ward chairpersons are the ones who started these unplanned settlements through corruption and illegal sale of portions of land without Town planning Authority!
    Political operatives called cadres over the years have rendered city planning Authorities as Rubber stamps of these illegalities!
    The worst came when Chiluba established his Vendors Desk right at State House! This was the beginning of the end of cleanliness in Lusaka! Having done away with some of the good Agriculture marketing infrastructure UNIP established in the rural areas, Chiluba destroyed Rural economies! Thus Chiluba set into motion a mass Rural-urban migration!
    During UNIP days, people used to look forward to going back to the village because farming was very lucrative during the UNIP days!
    The Vendors Desk was the only incentive Chiluba could think of. With the improvements in public transportation, it was now easy for rural dwellers to migrate to the cities to engage in indiscriminate street vending! The mass unemployment Chiluba created through his mismanaged Privatization process added to the pressure on the cities! So entire villages moved to cities putting pressure on city public services and housing!
    The stage was set for build up of Filth and chaos we now glorify as ma Komboni!
    These unplanned settlements have become fertile grounds for disease outbreaks! These dehumanizing living conditions have even reduced our people’s reasoning ability! They think cleanliness is someone else’s responsibility! We grew up poor during UNIP days but we did not allow poverty to become an excuse for Filth! We never said “Boma iyanganepo!” We did our own version of Solid Waste Management! We dug up ifishala! When it fills up, we bury and dig another one! We never left mountains of garbage around our dwellings!
    Our people today are not keen on cleanliness!
    They will blame everyone else for their situation!
    As long as the ma Shanties are not phased out or upgraded, we should budget for annual disease outbreak ceremonies!
    Anyone who wants to blame the current government over a historical problem which those who have been in government before have not been keen to resolve,are simply being economical with the truth!
    We have a great opportunity now with the enhanced CDF program to incentivize citizens to resettle in dignified environments in peri-urban areas and the countryside (villages).
    The young people we encouraged to apply for CDF from rural constituencies got funded a long time ago! Those who want to stick to the cities are still on the waiting list!
    By the time some wake up, it will be too late.
    There is one retiree who was languishing mu Komboni and yet he had an idle farm in a good peri-Lusaka area. With our little assistance in terms of a simple shelter and a borehole, he moved to his farm.
    Today, he is even regretting why he took too long to move on.
    He makes an average income of K15,000 from just fresh Maize sales every month! He also does Tomatoes and other vegetable crops. In addition, he has invested in Banana and fruit production. He doesn’t have to sweat looking for market. Marketeers go looking for whatever he has to sell!
    His house in Komboni is now on rent earning him passive income!
    He doesn’t buy his Mealie meal from shops! He is having the best retirement life and he says if he was to restart his life, he wouldn’t waste time in town!
    For our lives to change significantly, we need to move away from our comfort zones! We must be ready to fail! We must be ready to lose bad friends! We must stop listening to bad politicians who have no empowerment advice for anyone other than to keep us in desperate situations so as to buy our votes with Chibuku and ma K20 bribes!
    Cholera is in Lusaka to stay as long as we don’t show willingness to correct past mistakes!
    Safety kuimwena!

  2. I didn’t realise that this PF lawyer is in fact brainless! How does he connect cholera to break in the law and lawlessness? Cholera has been an issue in Zambia since independence due to the fact that conservative governments ignored providing council services in these areas and people have been doing things for themselves. For example there is no refuse collection, no individual metered piped water for each house and well as connected sewage systems for sanitation. People literally the way the feel and no one collects the rubbish. These places have been unregulated from the time of independence. Things are not going to change anytime soon unless government relocates people to new places that are fully serviced with running water and a well connected sewage network system in order to reconstruct and upgrade the existing compounds. It’s that simple! It’s free in Zambia if you want to join politics, you just join instead of pretending to be someone you’re not. A chameleon always wanting to fit in with the environment. So in your reasoning if lawlessness is taken care of cholera will run away?

  3. After 4 years without any Cholera outbreaks, thanks to ECL and his teams, Hakainde brought this disease back within months of being elected.

    Ubusali too much this tribalist conman.

    • Indigol Tyrol, I think you are too young to know the history of this country.
      Were you there when we had this outbreak on the Copperbelt, specifically in Kitwe. Visit Chingola road cemetery and ask the attendant to show you mass graves for cholera for the year 1992/93.
      I lost a friend working for Mindola Economical Foundation, to date we only know he is lying in one of the mass graves at Chingola road cemetery.
      Grow up young man and know the history of your country.

  4. Cholera is just a symptom of how dirty we are as Zambians. Sorry but truth be told we are a dirty lot. How many of you go into a take away eat and leave trash for someone else to pick up after you. How many of you throw rubbish out the windows of your cars and want to suggest that this is a class issue? How many of you eat a cob of maize, throw empty cocoa cola container or water container; without a thought where that will end up.
    Sangwa is just a shallow person who wants to pass the buck, without acting responsibily. We as Zambians are dirty. Me inclusive, and until we collectively change our behavior, Cholera will be with us. The problem is our behavious, we cant put our foot down by bad behavior. Wr tolerate it and expect a different result….

  5. Laws are still there; it’s the order which has broken down in local government in Zambia and has been since the 1980s. My hope is that the pain and shame of cholera will cause us to go back to the basics.

  6. The headline is misleading because Cholera or indeed any disease has nothing to do with the breakdown of law and order, our learned lawyer at times goes over the bar. Also the absence of a disease for a number of years does not give us any guarantee that it can not re appear in the coming years, for example, Ebola can disappear for few years but keeps on reoccurring especially in the DRC. The same Cholera keeps on resurfacing every few years, if it has not been there the past four years, it means the first two years of UPND and the last two years of PF have had no Cholera. So the occurrence of Cholera at this time of the season has nothing to do with the ruling party. Our environment also contributes, foods are everywhere this time, in America, Europe, Asia and here in Africa. I have just been looking at the islands of Moritius and Reunion which are heavily flooded.

  7. Sangwa is right about breakdown of law and order. Councils no longer plan settlements. Cadres allocate plot using tapes and steps. The local government cannot enforce laws on street vending or else there will be riot. Each ruling party when in opposition supports indiscriminate street vending, only to face an even bigger challenge when they get into office


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