FDD president Edith Nawakwi has expressed displeasure at the recent Constitutional Court judgement on the need for public office aspirants to possess grade 12 certificates or equivalents, saying some judgements make her wonder whether the courts are operating on the moon.
And Nawakwi says those who call her a surrogate of the PF are just bitter because she has refused to support them.
Speaking on Diamond TV’s “Diamond Live Monday Menu” programme, Nawakwi expressed frustration at the ConCourt ruling on the Grade 12 certificate, saying the judgement required further interpretation because it did not make sense.
“Frankly speaking, you know sometimes I tend to think that our Judiciary works in the air. I think there are many judgments which you look at and wonder and say: ‘are they working on the moon or where are they?’ The Judiciary, when there is a bad law from Parliament, the Judiciary in many instances, does set a precedent to correct a wrong, which Parliament has created. Many people say, and I have heard in the recent past when a judgement is passed they say, ‘no, this is a 1939 law as in the case of the lady of Southern Province,’ but I draw people to the judgement of Justice (Clever) Musumali in the case of Edith Nawakwi versus the Attorney General. This was the case to do with the rights of women going to the Passport Office to get documents. The law at the time was that a woman is not permitted to get a document signed for their child. Justice Musumali, may his soul rest in peace, changed that law and the current law is the existing law changed by the court under the seal of Justice Musumali. So, when they get a document like the 2016 (Amended) Constitution, which has many lacunas, many mistakes because people were drunk, some of them when they were doing that law. I think it is up to the court to interpret in a way that is fair,” Nawakwi argued.
“So, I think that the grade 12 certificate, I am a Masters of Science Degree holder, now you are asking me to look for my Cambridge certificate? I am wondering whether my Cambridge certificate qualifies? Cambridge is equivalent, is it? I don’t know. If I have a degree from the University of London, why on earth should I be looking for my grade 12 Cambridge certificate? It doesn’t make common sense, and I think the Attorney General (Likando Kalaluka) should step in and interpret it so that…Look, this country does not only belong to the elite, it belongs to every Zambian.”
And Nawakwi claimed that critics who had dismissed her as a PF surrogate were people she had refused to support.
“The only people who have accused me of what you are repeating, I am afraid I am not able to answer you directly because you said in the beginning and that most of your online bloggers are saying don’t talk about some name, which I may not mention, and you are drawing me to that. The people who call me ‘surrogate’ and I am afraid you are repeating that, are people who I have refused to support from 2005 to-date! The relationship between FDD and UPND ended, and from the moment it ended in 2016 when I refused to go again into that arrangement, I was called a ‘surrogate of PF’ and a ‘surrogate of President Lungu.’ That is a name which my detractors want to use, but you will agree with me that I cannot side with a political party whose policies I don’t agree with and the FDD has been here from 2001 to-date,” Nawakwi said.
“I think if you look at the history of some of the political parties, let us take the UPND, how many alliances have there been? In and out and no one raises issues to that? It only becomes an issue if Edith Nawakwi doesn’t say that which is pleasing to the opposition! I am aware as to why, as a nation, we are where we are. We did discuss taxation the previous year; I am on record having said that the former minister of finance (Margaret Mwanakatwe), the position, which she took in terms of taxation, was not going to favour the mining sector and we are where we are. But I am not going to stand and say together like people say, ‘you must side with the opposition,’ what is the opposition saying? Some of them say, ‘they will fix it’ and as I have said before you can take a car to the garage; if you don’t have spares, you will not fix it!”
Meanwhile, Nawakwi insisted that the FDD was still a big player in this year’s polls.
“Come 12th August, we have even released adverts calling for applicants for all the positions that are available for the general election on the 12th of August. So, that issue of whether we are irrelevant is settled. In fact, we are a big player in this election. One wants to know that coming from a COVID economy, we really need politicians who can offer alternative development policies and direction for the country. So, in short, I have answered your callers and please persuade them that they need to listen to your questions about FDD and which way forward and not other political parties. If you want to draw me into the arena of other political parties, I will not hesitate to venture into that direction,” said Nawakwi.
“FDD is a political party and any political party that is registered in this country wants to be able to be given the opportunity to form government. In short, FDD will be on the ballot paper, we have advertised for positions unless you just want to ask: ‘Edith Nawakwi, are you going to be on the ballot paper?’ And the answer is yes! As a party, adverts have gone out; we are calling for people to respond to be councillors; to be mayors; to be chairpersons; to be members of parliaments. Those positions are open and we have said to all our members, those that are members of our party, we have said that we are going forward and we shall fulfil all their requirements of the constitution.”