TODAY'S LETTERS

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 12:04:47 +0000

Judicial contradictions are dangerous

Dear Editor

The Judiciary has a duty to explain to the nation whether or not a person who appeals against the nullification of a seat can appeal to the Constitutional Court, while the speaker declares the seat vacancy and Electoral Commission of Zambia arranges for a by-election.

This is the scenario which Judge Mwiinde Siavwapa paints, while his other fellow Judge Msona feels that the clock should stop pending the very final determination of the matter by the Constitutional Court.

Judge Msona makes a lot of sense because a person sentenced to a term of imprisonment can is granted bail pending the determination of an appeal in the superior court.

The bail and stay of sentence do not mean the overturning of a conviction and sentence, they simply mean that another court will be given an opportunity to hear the case and make a determination one way or the other.

Suppose, for arguments sake, that a by election is held in Lusaka Central and Charlotte Scott win, then a few months later the Concourt decided that Judge Siavwapa was wrong to nullify the seat because the alleged infarctions did not amount to the level where the majority of voters in Lusaka Central were denied a chance to vote for a candidate of their choice.

What will happen in this situation? No constituency can have two MPs.

The notion that common sense has no place in law does not make any sense because it stands to reason that the whole purpose of an appeal is to test the reasoning and validity made by a lower court. By making himself as the final authority and arbiter Judge Siavwapa is acting above his remit because a higher court exists to examine his work.

The higher court must also determine if a statement about burying the umbilical cord is racist or if indeed Chitenges bought for a campaign team amounts to corruption which deprives the constituency an opportunity to vote for their candidate.

These matters must be decided and the sooner the better to set minds at rest.

Judicial contradictions are dangerous as they seem to indicate a level of confusion and lack of consistency in the judiciary.

Boniface Zimba

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The Zambian Constitution debate

Dear Editor

The Zambian Constitution is the supreme law of the land which safeguards the rights of all Citizens.

Barely ,a year after President Lungu signed the 2016 amended Constitution a private motion  on amending the constitution was raised in parliament recently by a Member of Parliament from the ruling Party the  Patriotic Front.

It is very important that as citizens we understand the characteristics of a good constitution in order to objectively debate and come up with a meaningful constitution.

A good constitution must have the following characteristics:

All stakeholders must be involved in formulating the constitution and it must reflect the desires of all citizens.

It must also last a test of time. Additionally, a good constitution must neither be too rigid nor too flexible.

This reduces chances of manipulating the constitution.

Furthermore, a good constitution must use simple and clear language that most people should understand.

Moreover, it must also promote fundamental human rights for all citizens and safe guard the environment.

The greatest challenge facing our constitution in Zambia is its formulation. There is too much political allegiance over nation interest when formulating our constitution.

Each Political Party that comes to power want to make the constitution suit their political agenda at the expense of National interest.

In 1972 the Chona Constitution
Review Commission recommended the introduction of a one Party Participatory democracy.

This left UNIP as the only Political Party until in 1991 when the Mvunga Constitution Review Commission recommended the re-introduction of Multi partism.

In 1995 the Mwanakatwe Constitution Review Commission changed the qualifications of a person contesting the presidency in order to bar Kenneth Kaunda to recontest the presidency hence giving the MMD an easy victory in the 1996 Elections.

Most citizens do not participate in the formulation of the Constitution hence our constitution not lasting a test of time. If most citizens participate in the constitution making process it is likely that they will accept the constitution and respect it.

The current Constitution has a lot of grey areas that need to be amended. The legal advisers to the republican President advised him wronged and hence the President consented to a constitution that was incomplete and had a lot of contentious issues.

It is not surprising that more and more people are calling for the amendment of the Constitution with a year.

Any objective person who has taken time to read the current Zambian constitution will agree that a lot of amendments still need to be made.

I hope the Members of Parliament will put national interest first and not political party allegiance as they debate the amendments to be made.

Wisdom Kaunda

Civic educationist, Kabwe

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Dr Guy Scott should forget politics

Dear Editor,

When I saw the picture of Dr Guy Scott in the Mast (new Post) of
December 10, I almost dropped a tear or two.

I saw something in our old political battle axe that confirmed that the man is truly
politically broken up.

Even the issues he was trying to raise against President Lungu were equally weather-beaten and side-splitting because of their levity.

For me he is better off taking to his famed whisky for the few remaining years that the Good Lord has kept for him instead of turning himself into a wind-swept political superman.

He is not the Guy Scott many Zambians have known. It is all easy to see that he is now talking with his heart and not the mouth because physically he is not there.

Like the Bible says, there is time for everything, for me time is now for Scott to hang up his political gloves because the games of politics have rather left him beached in the middle of the road.  Surely even those who called him ‘Mzungu Wopusa,(stupid white man) must be feeling awfully sorry for Scott.

I know that politicians are a stubborn lot, but even in mulishness, there is a limit.

That he wants to spend his last years practising opposition politics, for me, is sheer final kicks of a dying horse.

Let him just get back to PF so that he could be honourably remembered in the annals of Zambia’s political history instead of being in political vacuum he is currently in.

Jay Kabemba,

LUSAKA

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