Rainbow Party General Secretary Wynter Kabimba says the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) does not have to be “in love” with government but they have a duty to point out where things are not going right.
And Kabimba says the slight appreciation of the Kwacha is cosmetic.
Featuring on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme yesterday, Kabimba said President Edgar Lungu did not own LAZ for him to be regulating its affairs.
“LAZ has a mandate to protect the Constitution and there is nothing they have done outside their mandate. And for Edgar to be saying that this is a noble profession to which I belong, so what? He is not the only member of LAZ. So who says that just because he is President LAZ has become his? It’s ours also and again that statement can come from any Zambian citizen, it can come from a marketeer, it can come from a villager because they are apprehensive about the effects of invoking Article 31. It’s not just something that you do without taking into account how it is going to affect the lives of the citizens. So LAZ has the right to express an opinion and they don’t have to form a political party before they express such an opinion,” Kabimba said.
“There is nothing wrong that LAZ has done, it’s just that it is now working under an environment where the government is not doing the right thing and LAZ has got the right to tell the government, they don’t have to be in love with the government. They have a duty, a mandate. The problem with African governments, and it’s not only the Law Association of Zambia, you saw it even when the church criticized President Lungu, they lined up another group of clergymen to start condemning Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu. So it is typical of African leaders that they don’t want divergent views, they just want to be idolized, they just want to hear the good news even when their performance is poor.”
Kabimba noted that LAZ was within its legal mandate when it cautioned government and the President on the invocation of Article 31.
“There is nothing that has gone wrong in the legal profession, if you remember a few months ago they tried to dismantle LAZ by trying to do divide and rule, they tried to hire a few lawyers within LAZ to form another association but there was an action in court to that effect and some of us came out again and condemned that kind of thing, so there is nothing wrong that LAZ has done, it’s just that it is now working under an environment where the government is not doing the right thing and LAZ has got the right to tell the government, they don’t have to be in love with the government. They have a duty, a mandate under the Act to speak on Constitutionalism and that is a matter of Constitutionalism,” he said.
“The proclamation of a Threatened State of Emergency is a constitutional issue. So LAZ was not talking about how tomatoes should be sold, then you can say no this is not for you, LAZ was not talking about how people should be buried at the memorial park because then you can say but why are you talking about burying and incriminating of people? It was talking about issues that fall squarely within its mandate and jurisdiction and it has a duty, not to the government mind you, but to the Zambian people.”
And Kabimba said the kwacha appreciation was cosmetic.
“I am not an economist, I am a lawyer by profession and a politician, but even just from my elementary economics, I do not understand how the kwacha now is in the range of K8, K9 to the dollar. In a country where the copper prices are still low and we are being told that the reason for this stability is just the production of maize? God help us, is this the only driving index of our economy? I wish it was. So the truth of the matter is that a non performing economy like ours which is dependent on borrowing, cannot have its economy performing so well drastically, there is nothing this economy is doing to produce and create a kind of cosmetic stability that we are seeing today. So we are saying in the Rainbow Party that all that you are seeing is cosmetic, you are falling in love with a situation which is not real,” said Kabimba.
“And then the issue of mealie-meal prices, why should the lower mealie – meal prices be confined to one part of Zambia? Why the Copperbelt Province only? Why not other areas and what’s so special about Copperbelt Province? A province that is just producing copper and producing very little maize but it’s the one that is doing well in terms in terms of prices, so you can see that all this is just changanya politics.”