CONSTITUTIONAL Lawyer John Sangwa says the fall of Bill 10 is a victory for Zambia’s democracy and the people of Zambia must be proud that multipartism triumphed.
And Sangwa says the Constitutional Court failed Zambians on Bill 10 but he is happy to see that the legislative arm of government has rescued Zambia’s hope on the constitutional amendment process.
Meanwhile Sangwa says with the defeat of Bill 10, his next assignment is to make sure that he challenges President Lungu’s eligibility to stand in the 2021 general election.
In an interview, Sangwa said the failure of Bill 10 was a victory to democracy and for the rule of law.
“This is another milestone in the consolidation of our democracy in Zambia. It’s a victory for democracy, it’s a victory for rule of law and it’s a victory for constitutional rule. And also, that is the way a multi-party system is supposed to work. What we have witnessed on the failure of Bill 10 is a proper display of the system of government we fault for in 1991. Perhaps for the first time in Zambia’s history we have reaped the true benefits of a multi-party system of government. That is the way a multi-party system is supposed to fucnion. Our multi-party system has been tested and it has excelled with flying colours,” Sangwa said.
Sangwa said the ruling PF should accept that leadership is about humility and not arrogance.
Asked if the Minister of Justice was legally allowed to take back the Bill to Parliament, Sangwa said that would mean starting the whole processes again.
“They can do whatever they want to do now [but] the question is can they succeed in enacting the bill? Nothing stops any person from doing something crazy. It’s like taking a case to court. Anybody can take a case to court but the question is can they succeed? Do you have a good case? And at the end of the day it still remains [to say] do you have the numbers? They [PF] have to accept that leadership is about humility and not arrogance. You serve the people and not serve yourselves. And they should learn to listen to the people. You can’t claim to be acting in the interest of people and in the meantime you are not listening to what the people are saying,” he said.
“And there is also another lesson [which is] being truthful to the people. Don’t tell lies to the people because this whole process has been characterised by lies and deceit about the benefits of Bill 10 when there are no benefits in Bill 10. When the Constitution as it stands is far much better than it has never been in the history of this country. And you want to destroy it. You destroy it not with facts but with lies,” Sangwa observed.
And Sangwa charged that the Constitutional Court had failed the Zambian people on Bill 10 but said it was exciting that another arm of government was able to “rescued Zambians on the constitution making process”.
“So, those in leadership should always remember to be truthful to the people they serve. And the people are intelligent enough to make their own judgment. So, don’t manage people, don’t manage the electorates, don’t manage the people they serve. Remember what I said [that I still have my faith in the Zambian people. It is also a reminder to the other institutions of government to stick to the law. It’s a reminder to the other institutions of government in particular the judiciary that they have a role to play in this process,” he said.
“What it shows is that we need to have faith in our institutions. When one institution fails, in this case clearly, the Constitutional Court failed the people of Zambia on Bill 10. But another arm of the government has come to the rescue of the Zambians. At the end of the day, we have a duty to strengthen the institutions of government and not individuals. So, this is a great day for our democracy, the democracy we fought for in 1991.”
Meanwhile Sangwa said his next assignment will be to challenge President Lungu presidential nomination.
“Well, even if Bill 10 had succeeded, I already told you that we had plan B on challenging Lungu’s nomination. That has not changed. In fact the only thing that has changed is that we are going with the original plan. The petition is already written and polished, I am just waiting for the date when the President will file his nomination, that’s it. The law is very clear that the man doesn’t not qualify and so with the downfall of Bill 10, my next assignment is to challenge his nomination,” said Sangwa.