HH autocracy claims baseless

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 09:36:09 +0000


IT is an absolute absurdity for the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema to trumpet lies and insinuations that indications for wide consultations regarding Zambia’s membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are intended to create an autocracy.

Choosing to deliberately misquote what President Lungu said on the subject matter upon his return from the African Union (AU) Summit on Monday this week goes to show how trivial the UPND leader has become.

Is what Hakainde Hichilema ranted the position of the UPND? Why should the UPND leader narrow the topical debate to his blotted, misplaced political opinion?

Going by the careless statement from the leader of the largest opposition political party, it is crystal clear that the UPND is bent on misinforming and misleading the nation on a straightforward issue.

We think President Lungu was succinct in stating his position on whether Zambia should continue being a member of the ICC or not following heated discussions during the AU Summit on African nations withdrawing their membership thereof. He enunciated that there are African nations on the continent who are contemplating pulling out of the ICC for varied reasons but that Government would consult extensively on the matter.

So far Gambia, Burundi and South Africa are the African nations that have overtly announced their intention to pull out from the ICC chiefly on grounds that the International Court has been applying selective justice in the manner it has pursued investigations on alleged commission of crimes.

Notably, the ICC has been quick in dragging African Heads of States before it whereas treating leaders of most powerful nations with kids’ gloves despite overwhelming evidence of having perpetrated crimes against humanity.

Obviously the exit of some nations signals discontentment with the way the court has executed its mandate particularly in relation to poorer and smaller nations when it is meant to be an impartial one-stop shop to try the most powerful perpetrators of the worst violations: war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Given this background, we find it quite unfathomable for the UPND leader to impute that the decision to leave the ICC is meant to create an autocracy, let alone misjudge broad consultations on the subject matter for manoeuvres to pull out.

We concur with progressive contributors to the debate that have intelligently interpreted President Lungu’s indication for wide consultations before a decision is made as a sign that the Head of State respects the republican Constitution and the will of the people. This is what democracy demands and not what Hakainde Hichilema claims.

He (President Lungu) acknowledges the basic understanding that Zambia is a democratic nation, thereby the constitutional requirement to espouse and uphold its practices and values.

And we think the need for wide consultations on a matter of such magnitude entrenches the very lifeblood of democracy- rule by the majority. Is this what Hakainde Hichilema calls autocracy?

Surely, this does not seem like it! Instead, it is illusionary thinking.

In our view, it will be sensible and beneficial for the opposition political leaders to offer rational guidance to the nation on whether Zambia should continue to be a member of the ICC or not as opposed to playing t0 the gallery of lies and innuendos.


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