There will be no chaos in Zambia but in the Patriotic Front after the Constitutional Court rules on the eligibility case, says NAREP president Elias Chipimo.
Last week Thursday, President Edgar Lungu warned that there would be chaos in the country if ConCourt judges chose to be “adventurous” by emulating their Kenyan colleagues.
“To my colleagues in the Judiciary, my message is just do your work, interpret the law without fear or favour and look at the best interest of this country. Don’t become a copycat and think that you are a hero if you plunge this country into chaos. Those people who don’t like peace and freedom will say ‘President Lungu is intimidating the courts of law’, I am not intimidating the judiciary, I am just warning you because I have information that some of you want to be adventurous, your adventure should not plunge us into chaos please!” exclaimed President Lungu.
“In English there is a saying, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. We don’t want to plunge this country into chaos because we are trying to imitate what’s happening elsewhere. We are a beckon of peace and freedom, let us keep it that way. I was on the ballot paper as candidate and I assured that I would protect Zambia and that I will do.”
But in an interview with News Diggers! on Friday, Chipimo advised judges to be adventurous.
“My message is not even to the President because I don’t think he is capable of appreciating the importance of an independent judiciary so my message will be to the ConCourt, be adventurous and serve the people of this country through your adventure, and focus on justice. Administer justice and do not be intimidated,” Chipimo said.
“The only chaos will be in PF, not in the rest of the country. So we should worry about chaos in the rest of the country. the chaos in PF people are even used to, we are now very familiar with it so it won’t surprise us or shock us or cause us to have any anxiety and quite frankly, the more chaos there is, the better they will be at trying to resolve their own issues so that we can finally get the level of governance that this country requires.”
He said it was unacceptable for a Head of State to issue a statement which undermined the Judiciary.
“My own personal view on this issue has already been stated and it is unacceptable for a Head of State to issue a statement that in any way undermines the Judiciary. We should not tolerate that as Zambians. The Judiciary should be left to do their jobs, it is not for the President to judge them, it is for the people to judge them. So it is very worrying and very troubling that over an issue that personally affects the President, he can be making a statement that has the effect of potentially undermining the justice system in this country and the fact that he can do it so openly, without fear or favour, knowing so well that he is being recorded sends a very dangerous signal about what we can expect to see going forward in this country if the courts don’t stand up against this kind of intimidation,” said Chipimo.
“I personally do not think that it will work and I also think that it is a concern for us as a nation to have our Head of State comment on a matter that has been determined by the Judiciary of another country and cast aspersions on their professional conduct and behavior, this is not right and there must be a minimum level of etiquette when it comes to these foreign interactions.”