The judiciary is on trial!



The judiciary is on trial!

One of the hallmarks of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s leadership is that he respected the separation of powers among the three arms of government. That is the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislature. History is there to remind us that whenever the Executive misbehaved, the Legislature and Judiciary quickly put a stop to its excesses. Whenever people were detained indefinitely without trial, they rushed to the Judiciary and the institution rose above board to protect people’s rights.

But the behaviour of the Judiciary since 1991 when the country reverted to multiparty democracy has been worrying. In most instances, the Judiciary has been used by the Executive to harass perceived political enemies by those in government. But with the appointment of an eminent human rights lawyer, Mumba Malila as the country’s Chief Justice, many Zambians were relieved. We have followed his track record and we still have hope that even in these UPND manoeuvres, the Judiciary under him will rise to the occasion and provide sanity not only in the State-sponsored PF wrangles but other illegalities – political mischief. Indeed, as former president Edgar Lungu said last week Friday, the Judiciary is on trial now just as it was under his presidency.

When we earlier confronted some of our colleagues in the UPND about their quest to annihilate the PF despite them proclaiming democracy, they quickly distanced themselves from the manoeuvres.

“No, UPND has got nothing to do with this,” some of them said. But, as history has taught us, treachery is like a pregnancy – it grows. And in treachery, it is pride that grows faster because those practicing it feel more superior and intelligent than everyone else. And so they eventually fail to conceal their treachery – they begin to proclaim it publicly. When we reached out to these colleagues of ours after a catalogue of events that have occurred since Miles Sampa’s mock PF convention, they have gone under. It seems they are not ready to face us after our perceptions were proven accurate by the new dawn government.

Minister of Information and Media Cornelius Mweetwa had, not until recently, consistently distanced his administration from sponsoring Miles and team. But can he do this anymore? No, because almost every UPND official is bragging about this assault on democracy. They are openly confessing to having masterminded this brutality through some ‘useful idiots’ in PF. We also saw UPND aligned media go into a frenzy about this episode. In some WhatsApp groups purported to be for journalists, some journalists were over the mood celebrating the strangulation of the PF. In fact, they behaved worse than ordinary UPND cadres. We wondered whether these were journalists or direct subordinates of UPND national youth chairman Gilbert Liswaniso.

Unfortunately, some intellectuals too joined in the celebration, regardless of the consequences to the country’s democracy. We have said it many times before that, yes, the PF injured many people’s hearts when they were in power. PF were brutal and a law unto themselves. No one wants a return of that barbarity, under any form of disguise!

And Zambians already punished PF for that by voting them out of government in August 2021. So killing the PF when it is needed the most is certainly a promotion of dictatorship. Those supporting the UPND’s quest to dismantle the PF should for once calm down, remove their emotions and think about the future of this country. What will become of this country when UPND becomes the only active political party with majority representation in parliament? Already, President Hakainde Hichilema has displayed clear dictatorial tendencies as he seeks to wipe out almost all opposition parties. How much damage will he cause to this country if left unchecked? With his unbridled self-righteousness, how many dissenting voices can survive under Hakainde’s one party rule if it were to succeed?
Hakainde has already weakened all necessary public institutions.

While he may be a conflicted messenger, given his record while in State House, we take it from hindsight he has reflected and we should seriously analyse Edgar’s lamentations that: “The blatant breach of the Constitution at parliament is very concerning. And the judiciary is on trial, not only to do justice but to be seen to be doing justice. Institutions that are charged with the responsibility to stop illegalities are the ones perpetuating such vices. What a shame! It, therefore, becomes extremely difficult to remain silent or in retirement when injustice and assault on democracy are being perpetrated. This must be fought and stopped forthwith. But it can only be easily achieved if the media pursued their watchdog role with patriotism, and without fear or favour. Let the media work in national interest, not in the interest of those who are pursuing foreign agendas at the expense of Zambians. Gladly, I have all the confidence in our media through their diversity. With our combined efforts, victory is certain. This fight is for my brother in Nakonde, my sister in Livingstone, my grandmother in Sikongo, my brothers and sisters in Bweengwa, my cousins in Kaputa and my grandfather in Mwinilunga. This is a fight for our people in all the ten provinces as one Zambia, One Nation. Viva democracy! Abash dictatorship!”

The Judiciary has, indeed, a huge task of restoring sanity in our politics, especially stopping the State sponsored blatant strangulation of the PF. For the sake of our democracy, civility and socio-economic advancement the PF should definitely survive!


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