“I never thought I would hear anything like this; to have somebody openly admit that they were aware of the outcome of the decision that was going to be made by a court in this country. I never thought, even in my wildest dreams, and everything that is going on at the moment, that we would ever get such an explicit admission of interference in the Judiciary by senior ranking officials within State House,” opposition NAREP leader Elias Chipimo told News Diggers!
He was reacting to a statement made by State House press aide Amos Chanda. In our story a day earlier, we asked the President’s advisor why the Head of State personally signed a sovereign guarantee for STAG Africa to provide US$500 million financing to Zesco.
Chanda narrated that although the agreement with the financial intermediaries was concluded on August 8, 2016, the substantive Minister of Finance at the time Alexander Chikwanda could not sign because it had come to State House’s attention that the Constitutional Court was going to rule against the minister’s stay in office.
“This was signed after the elections, but the negotiations finished on 8th August. We had known then that the following day on 9th August, the ConCourt was going to nullify the stay of ministers in office, we had known that that was going to be the decision. The conclusion between Zesco finished on the 8th but the signature must have taken place between 16th and 23rd August,” said Chanda.
Many people, especially lawyers have called us to condemn the President’s spokesperson for making what they are calling a blunder. Some are suggesting that Chanda ‘revelation’ has humiliated the President.
We hold a different view. In President Edgar Lungu’s language, they say “nkhuku yeona anyina kunyela mukhola”, directly translated to mean a chick learns from its mother the bad habit of answering the call of nature within where it sleeps. Even among humans, babies often observe others demonstrate how to do things and then copy those body movements. It’s how little ones know, usually without explicit instructions, to hold a toy phone to the ear or guide a spoon to the mouth.
There is nothing Mr Chanda said which the President himself has not personally admitted publicly. Mr Chanda’s acknowledgment was to the effect that State House was aware of the ConCourt’s decision on ministers, which in fact went against the State.
In case the people of Zambia have forgotten, President Lungu did not only make a much more serious revelation in a much more serious matter, but he also succeeded in threatening the Constitutional Court judges against disqualifying him from standing in 2021 when they had already made the decision.
“To my colleagues in the Judiciary, I am just warning you because I have information that some of you judges want to be adventurous and imitate what the Kenyan judges did, but your adventure will plunge us into chaos. The most important thing I can say now is, 2021, I am available to stand if my party chooses me. In English there is a saying, ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed’, I have warned you,” said President Lungu in November 2017.
This is what we meant in our example of a chick and its mother. If President Lungu’s position was to promote the separation of powers by keeping the Judiciary at a distance, that would have been the language of his advisors. But when the Head of State is in the forefront, publicly informing people that he knows the decisions of such a high court, how can his aides see anything wrong with making such revelations?
So when we heard Mr Chanda admit that State House was aware of a Constitutional Court ruling a day before it was delivered, we raised no eyebrows. We can guess that it is not only Mr Chanda who had this leakage, the President had it too; and perhaps the reason why he did not interfere is because he wanted the ministers to go so that he could sign the sovereign guarantee himself.
In our view, this revelation from Mr Chanda does not reveal anything, but simply ties in perfectly with the revelation that the President made in Solwezi last year. Dear readers, this is the reality that we are living in. If there is still anyone out there who thinks our Judiciary is independent from the Executive, they need a reality check.
State House is in charge of Parliament and all the courts in Zambia. It is the presidency controlling what goes on in these arms of government. Under this PF regime, we would have been shocked if that was not the case because a dictatorship cannot thrive without control over the Judiciary and the legislature.
In fact, we are grateful that Mr Chanda seems to have a problem with lying. He told us the truth because that is exactly what transpired. But it seems we the people of Zambia would prefer lies. We seem to have the attitude of “what we don’t know won’t hurt”, and we are hurt because we now know about the leakage from the Constitutional Court to State House.
Let’s face reality, and the reality is that court rulings are not leaked to State House, a majority of court decisions are actually made by the presidency and leaked to the responsible judges in the Judiciary.
Like we have already stated, what Mr Chanda ‘revealed’ is nothing more than what the President himself said. So all questions now must be targeted at the Constitutional Court. Who is leaking these judgments? Where is the integrity of these judges? Can these Constitutional Court judges pass any fair judgment against the man who employed them? The answer is a categorical NO! Is the leadership of the National Assembly independent from State House in order to allow an impeachment motion? The answer is NO! Therefore, in the absence of a miracle, Zambia is doomed!