The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) says the PF regime is butchering the country’s supreme law to suit and advance a partisan agenda.
In a statement, CiSCA chairperson Bishop John Mambo stated that the constant pursuit by the PF government to constrict democratic space by restraining political and civil society voices was rendering the Constitution impotent.
“CiSCA is of the firm belief that citizens have a responsibility to stop the PF regime from wilfully butchering the country’s supreme law to suit and advance a partisan agenda. The PF and President Edgar Lungu in particular swore to defend the Zambian Constitution at all times. CiSCA expects and demands nothing less than total allegiance to the provisions of the national Constitution by the President and the ruling party functionaries. Whenever the exercise of political power by the governing party is unrestrained by the Constitution, a dictatorship emerges. In the case of our beloved nation, it is clear that there is wanton disregard to the Constitutional provisions by the ruling elite seemingly abetted by judicial gaffes, ineptness and in some cases professional negligence. The constant pursuit by the PF government to malign and constrict democratic space by restraining dissenting political and civil society voices is unceasingly rendering our constitution impotent,” he stated.
Bishop Mambo stated that the country was freely turning into a dictatorship as the exercise of political powers is not governed by constitutional limitations.
“CiSCA firmly believes that any nation which is not governed by constitutional limitations on the exercise of political power, as is the current situation in our country, is a dictatorship. Developments in the recent past including the ruling by the Constitutional Court on the President Elect’s refusal to hand over power to the Speaker of the National Assembly as provided for under Article 104(3) by the Constitution, which he himself assented into law, renders our Constitution not worth the paper it is written on. In addition, the failure by the Attorney General, who is the chief government legal adviser, to give advice to the President elect to respect the Constitution with regards handing over power to the Speaker leaves much to be desired with regard his professional acumen in the legal field and matters of the state,” stated Bishop Mambo.
He demanded for the removal of ConCourt judges.
“CiSCA is of the view that the ConCourt in its current form cannot be trusted to handle the present and future election disputes. The judges’ conduct or omission is a threat to Zambia’s constitutional democracy and political stability. That notwithstanding, CiSCA does not believe that the ConCourt should be abolished as there were compelling reasons for its establishment that are still valid. However, CiSCA holds the view that the current judges should all be retired in national interest with immediate effect and be replaced with the most experienced and courageous legal authorities that Zambia and indeed other countries have to offer,” Bishop Mambo said.
He also expressed concern over the police’s ineptness in dealing with PF functionaries.
“Police ineptness in dealing with PF functionaries who are a threat to peace and security and constitutional order is another concern. The police in a functioning democracy should be politically blind. For example, it is unfathomable why the police would allow Kennedy Kamba, the PF Youth Chairperson to continue issuing threats to those who hold different views to the PF while the police look on hopelessly. Why were PF cadres allowed to organize protests against the Minister of Finance Mr. Felix Mutati without following the law when it is Kamba’s party that appointed the minister? As if that is not ridiculous enough the police remain mute when Kamba publicly threatens to maim opposition leaders Hakainde Hichilema and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba if they exercised their constitutionally guaranteed rights to hold a political rally if they did not first recognize President Lungu, a breach of a non-existent law. Threatening violence is contrary to Section 90(a) of the Criminal Code of Zambia and if found guilty the person is liable to imprisonment for five years. GBM was arrested on the same. why is the police not arresting Kamba? This selective application of the law is nothing short of anarchical conduct by the police. Why is PF seemingly exempt from the rule of law? Surely if this is not a dictatorship, then what is it?” asked Bishop Mambo.
“Continued police suppression of civil liberties and freedoms as seen by the arrests of the fire tenders protesters is undemocratic and a malevolent violation of constitutional provisions and human rights instruments that Zambia is a State party to. Twisting the facts to suit the law on ‘disobeying lawful orders’ does not make the human rights abuse of arresting the protesters legitimate. We wait to see what the courts will determine but our suspicion is that this is another case headed for a nolle prosequi.”