LUSAKA lawyer Joseph Chirwa says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s decision to take his FDD counterpart Edith Nawakwi to court will not solve anything.
And Chirwa says the debate about privatisation is a political issue which Hichilema should address with political answers.
Hichilema has sued Nawakwi for libel following her repeated statements that the UPND leader had illegally personally benefitted from the privatization process in the 1990s.
However, Chirwa said in addition to the explanation he gave on Hot FM, Friday, Hichilema should do more to retrieve documents from Patents and Companies Registration (PACRA) and have them published for all to see.
“I sympathise with Mr Hichilema. The issue of privatisation came in 2006. Mr Hichilema should remove his advisors and replace them with people who are capable of giving him proper advice. Let’s say the court tomorrow says Ms Nawakwi should pay US $3 million to Mr Hichilema, is it going to clear his name? It will not. Mr Hichilema should do what Michael Sata did. Right now, Mr Hichilema should have reported himself to the ACC so that his name is cleared. So, whether or not Mr Hichilema is guilty is not an issue. But going to court and suing Nawakwi is not the answer to the question because it is not only Nawakwi who has those questions,” Chirwa said.
“Mr Hichilema is vying for presidency and he is just a heartbeat away from being president. Let him provide answers to the questions that have been asked about him. Taking Nawakwi to court will not resolve anything. [In that interview on Hot FM], he asked me a citizen to go to PACRA to go and check the records there. Do you think citizens from Bauleni can go to PACRA to go and check the records? The interview was on point but he should go a step further. He should go and retrieve those forms from PACRA and publish them for Zambians.”
He said the debate around privatisation was a political issue which needed political answers.
“There is no legal answer to the questions on privatisation. It is a political question and we all know that. The question on privatisation started a long time [ago], but why has it come today? It is politics. So, Mr Hichilema should have a political answer to the issue at hand. Quite alright, Mr Hichilema has a right as a citizen to protect his integrity by suing for defamation but that is just one per cent of the solution. What I am going to tell Mr Hichilema is that he should do more to clear his name, so that all of us who are voters are able to get a perspective,” said Chirwa. “As long as he keeps the truth swept under the carpet, there will always be suspicions. In as much as it is unfair to Mr Hichilema, I believe a lot should be done for Mr Hichilema to clear his name. And this issue cannot be put to bed by taking people to court.”