The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) says so far there is no corruption investigation linked to former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (ECL), or something to that effect. Essentially, the ACC cannot say whether or not they have any evidence linking ECL to corruption, yet.
Even before the saliva had dried up in the mouth of the Acting Director General of the ACC who made this extremely frightening, puzzling and worrying observation, the PF Acting Chairperson quickly pounced on it, thanking the ACC for “exonerating” ECL.

What are the mathematical possibilities that ECL is an innocent man who has just been badly smeared by his opposition as a very corrupt thief? Until a competent, legally constituted court in a fair trial convicts ECL of corruption, he is an innocent man, a free man. I shudder to imagine how much pain and hurt we have caused ECL, if indeed he is innocent. Zambia would have condemned, judged and crucified an innocent man, through the public court of opinion, without a trial in a competent court of law.

Every day that passes without either ECL or any of his minions being fully investigated, properly hauled before a court, tried and sentenced for corruption, theft, misuse of government funds, abuse of office, or such similar serious offences is a day that launders the Patriotic Front in general and ECL himself in particular. Slowly a terror is welling up in the hearts of many non-violent, peaceful, democracy, justice and development loving Zambians as the UPND government continues to waste time with public displays and announcements by crime investigating wings of the “harassment” of PF politicians.

The mathematical possibility that the President of Zambia, anyone one that it could be, could be “innocent” from all the partial revelations of evidence about the national violence, deaths at the hands of the state, many false imprisonment, abuse of the police and other crime investigating wings of the state, corruption in the judiciary, the sheer waste of public resources in unfinished expensive projects, collapsed economy, reckless borrowing, massive national debt, general looting and plunder of state resources including the assumption of presidential office while a challenge lay before the courts is negative zero (if such a digit existed in a field of mathematical numbers still to be invented).

The mathematical possibility diminishes further when quite a significant number of ECL’s minions are now actually being questioned for being in possession of property suspected to be linked to crimes. Is Hakainde and his DEC, ACC and the police telling us that 10 months after ECL was removed from office it is impossible to actually link ECL to any crime committed under his presidencies? Do they really think many Zambians believe this? What exactly is happening? Who, exactly, is fooling who here?

I have a confession to make: on the 3rd of May 2022 my article screamed at the courts to pronounce on the matter of Hakainde making public his presidential nomination declaration of assets and liabilities. The Constitutional Court was possessed of this matter last year, from the 21st of September. They announced their judgement in mid-March, this year – almost half a year after they were first approached!

A majority decision of the court ruled against the petition on all four prayers before it including that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should publish Hakainde Hichilema’s declaration of assets and liabilities. In a nutshell, the majority of the judges who sat in the court found that the ECZ did not breach the Constitution of Zambia when it did not publish the declarations of assets and liabilities of presidential candidates as there was as yet no Act or electoral regulation “prescribing” how this would be done, they said it was wrong to target only one candidate instead of all of them as the court was more open to a general view and interpretation of the Constitution, rather than targeting an individual, that in fact the petitioner had made a poor case for asking that the ECZ publish Hakainde’s declaration only, and finally that in the absence of this enabling legislation or regulations to prescribe how a presidential candidates declaration could be made, notwithstanding that this is a constitutional obligation of the ECZ, the Solicitor General too did not breach the Constitution either.

The “majority judgement” looks and sounds all good until you read the “dissenting view” from Munalula JC! She nails it perfectly! She agrees with the majority on the impropriety of targeting an individual and the absence of prescriptive subsidiary legislation as required by the Constitution. She brilliantly argues that in fact the ECZ and the Solicitor General are in breach of the constitution because it is their constitutional responsibility to ensure that enabling legislation and regulations as contained in the Constitution are in place before any elections takes place, after amendments to the Constitution.

Munalula JC, in my opinion, further confirms the fact that ECL is a scoundrel who, as President of Zambia allowed two elections to go ahead without full compliance with the Constitution! For, without either an Act of Parliament or electoral regulations to prescribe how presidential declarations were to be published, this could not happen, and it did not happen, and yet it is a constitutional requirement. ECL has done law. He knew what he was doing.

The fundamental question is why did the ECL government prescribe how members of parliament, councillors and others could have their affidavits with declarations open for public viewing but not presidents, in two consecutive elections? This was not a mistake, an oversight: this was a consciously executed act of concealment of presidential declarations to shield ECL from public scrutiny! Here in fact is a perfect ground for impeachment of ECL’s immunity from prosecution – it must be his responsibility to prove that he did not participate in the scheme to defraud Zambians of vital information regarding actually all presidential candidates! Munalula JC made it abundantly clear that the ECZ and the Solicitor General had no right to hide behind the absence of prescriptive legislation or regulations because it was their responsibility to put in place such enabling measures for the constitution to come fully alive.

Munalula JC ignores one important aspect the majority decision obscures: these declarations are not important just for voters to decide which candidate to vote for. They are important for tracking changes in the activities, wealth and liabilities of our former and current president to prevent criminal abuse of the president’s office by former and the current president. Democracy does not start and end with elections: it is constant engagement everyday by an informed citizenry, and not just registered voters!
And so, I must apologise to the Constitutional Court for not noticing that after six months they finally delivered their judgement on a matter extremely vital to the fight against corruption and enhancing our democracy! I am sorry to News Diggers readers too!

As long as the status quo remains, even if the ACC and the DEC secretly obtain the declarations for these two men, they may find it difficult to prosecute these two men for being in possession of property suspected to be proceeds of crime contained in the declarations. With the judgement from the Constitutional Court, neither the DEC nor the ACC may find it easy to use the declarations to investigate and take to court both ECL and HH. This may be the real reason why there are no prescriptions for publishing presidential declarations!

If ECL is the innocent angel his Acting Party Chairperson wants us to believe he is, why can’t ECL publish his assets and liability declaration? HH too, why can’t he do the same? Neither are barred by law to make public their personal wealth and liabilities. Both pretend we all think they are innocent and good men; an impossible ask to make of us!

Almost ten months after the elections last year both men have had enough time to have their lawyers and financial planners go through their businesses and documents and clean them. What remains, then, is to ask: what deal(s) did HH and ECL make to ensure that HH becomes president and ECL does not account for his time in office? We need to find out, and fast too!

(Send suggestions and comments at: munalulaagnesmusonda2016@gmail.com)