The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) says it understands that not being a lawyer, Justice Minister Given Lubinda fails to grasp some issues at the centre of his work but he must consult qualified personnel within the ministry before he plunges the justice system into chaos.

During a press briefing in Livingstone in the council chambers over the weekend, Lubinda lashed out at the church and some CSOs which were discrediting the National Dialogue Forum saying it was illogical for them to say the NDF should have reconciled politicians because that could lead to a one party state.

“The question is who is to be reconciled? Who is quarrelling with whom and on what? Political players will always be in competition for leadership. We in political parties believe that our policies are irreconcilable. If we are to reconcile our views, we would have one party,” said Lubinda.

But in a statement, Monday, CiSCA chairperson Bishop John Mambo said Lubinda had a warped view of multi-party democracy.

“The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) strongly cautions the Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda against his growing tendency of deliberately confusing government policies as his personal documents which he can play around with and abuse at will. We hereby remind Hon. Lubinda that the Justice Ministry is for all Zambians. A Minister of Justice Minister must be driven more by the national interest than their partisan political interest. The approach Hon. Lubinda is taking can potentially undermine justice in the country. We caution Hon. Lubinda that if he continues on this path of zealously taking partisan stands on national issues he risks becoming a Minister of Injustice, as his portfolio is not a partisan one. Justice is a human right and it is ‘blind’ to partisan interests hence the deliberate blindfolding of the lady justice Statue at the Supreme Court. We hope the Minister knows why the lady justice statue is blindfolded! CiSCA is greatly concerned about the Minister’s warped definition of multiparty democracy,” Bishop Mambo stated.

“It’s not about irreconcilable policies but about different approaches to issues. What results in one party states is what PF has been doing since coming into power suppressing freedoms of others except their own, silencing anyone who does not agree with their destructive agenda. Multiparty democracy is about building national consensus on important national agenda and not about arbitrary arrests of opposition party leaders, not about extreme allergy to divergent views such as his unwarranted attacks on us. Multiparty democracy is not about love for only CSOs and nashala neka political parties that speak the government’s language. We also challenge Hon. Lubinda to tell the nation if he explained and discussed the NDF Bill and Act to his fellow parishioners at the Catholic Church he belongs and is a leader of?”

Bishop Mambo advised Lubinda to consult qualified personnel in his ministry saying failure to do so would plunge Zambia’s justice system into chaos.

“We do understand that the Minister is not a lawyer and therefore struggles to grasp some of the issues that are at the centre of the Ministry’s work. We urge him to consult qualified personnel within the Ministry before he plunges the entire justice system into irreversible chaos. He should also not be scared of constructive criticism from well meaning [citizens] like ourselves. Hon. Lubinda should take a leaf from his predecessors Wynter Kabimba, Ngosa Simbyakula and even President Edgar Lungu who met with stakeholders like us when we were still known as the Grand Coalition even when the PF was fundamentally opposed to our stand points,” stated Bishop Mambo.

“CiSCA will continue to call out the Minister and any other public officials who conduct themselves in a manner that threatens our democracy.”