When LAZ president Eddie Mwitwa was elected to his current position, the Law Association of Zambia went dead silent on critical issues of national governance. In June last year, we wrote an opinion expressing concern that Mwitwa’s feet were too small to fit in Linda Kasonde’s shoes.
Below is the excerpt from our editorial comment which pointed out the weaknesses in the Mwitwa-led Law Association of Zambia at the time:
Our opinion is that to succeed as LAZ president, one must be alert to political alignments and manoeuvres around the entire association. A LAZ president who doesn’t understand the interests of the people he is leading can easily be turned into a fool and portrayed to the public as a political cadre.
A typical example of what we are trying to explain is the unpopular position that the Mwitwa-led LAZ has taken over the controversial land gift, which President Edgar Lungu received from eSwatini. When Mr Mwitwa was transmitting the statement to our newsroom, the document had already been sent to us by the PF media team almost an hour earlier. Not by one PF official, but several of them; some even suggesting headlines for us: “LAZ clears Lungu”.
Now, a politically alert LAZ president would wonder why this was the case. It would be folly for Mr Mwitwa to think that his vice-president and the rest of the LAZ executive and council are non-partisan. What he must know is that he is the torchbearer and whatever decision LAZ makes carries his face. If he does not move swiftly to study the character of each individual under his administration, this office will draw him into public ridicule and his career as a lawyer will be affected.
Knowing how innocent he is, it is with pain that we must admit, Mr Mwitwa is up to a very bad start. This being the very first government scandal that he is commenting on, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many who have vested all their trust and confidence in the Law Association of Zambia.
The English say the first cut is the deepest, but maybe it’s too early to judge Mr Mwitwa. However, we must hasten to remind him that his predecessor set the bar for LAZ too high. If he intends to do better than Linda Kasonde, he must come out of his shell and face the real fight.
Well, there is no doubt left that Mwitwa has now taken off the gloves to defend what is right. Looking at the position taken by his LAZ against the Republican President, his Attorney General and the National Assembly over the Constitution Amendment Bill No.10, we are certain that Mwitwa is now ready to fight the real battles. All well meaning Zambians must now rally behind LAZ and take interest in the petition filed before the Constitutional Court. The illegalities that President Lungu and his Attorney General agreed to take to Parliament in that Bill have been laid bare, and we now wait to see the court pronounce itself on the matter.
We are happy with the bold step that the incumbent LAZ president has taken because his reign is even more critical than that of his predecessor, Kasonde. This is because Mwitwa’s reign takes us close to the next general election. As evidenced by this Bill No.10, whatever the PF wants to do to the constitution in order to win the 2021 elections, it will be done under Mwitwa’s reign. This is why the current LAZ executive needs to have an extra watchful eye.
We are almost certain that after Mwitwa, the next LAZ president will most likely be a PF aligned lawyer. The PF will need control of this position during the general elections and it will be difficult at that time for LAZ to challenge the ruling party’s actions. So the responsibility that Mwitwa has is bigger than big. It is bigly, to borrow Donald Trump’s English; and a bigly task demands a bigly man with a bigly courage. We are happy that Mwitwa is beginning to give us that.
This is the LAZ we have been craving. There are others who are saying the action taken by LAZ is too late, but we can attest that Mwitwa has not been sleeping on this issue. We recall that not long ago when this Bill 10 was released to the public, he issued a statement in his capacity as LAZ president and promised that the LAZ council would sit and take a decisive step. And here is the decisive step!
Well done, Mwitwa! Sitepu yobe ni uuumm aaah uuumm aaaah…!