Of late, civil rights activist Brebner Changala has been spending more time talking and criticizing the government on various governance issues, even more than he spends time running his personal business. We are sure that those in government are even tired of hearing his voice and they get irritated every time they see a headline quoting him.
But we see a lot of valid and valued points in the questions that this chalk manufacturer is asking the government. We would like to draw the attention of our readers to his arguments on the Speaker’s refusal to halt debates on the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10.
Responding to a letter from LAZ lawyers Simeza Sangwa and Associates, who asked the House to halt proceedings given that the matter had been petitioned before the Constitutional Court, Clerk of the National Assembly Doris Kapumba stated, on behalf of the Speaker, that the debates would continue on account of the doctrine of exclusive cognizance, which provided that the House enjoyed exclusive and unfettered jurisdiction in the conduct of its internal proceedings.
“The Honourable Mr Speaker has elected to exercise his discretion to allow consideration of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 by the Select Committee and eventually the House,” read the letter in part.
But Mr Changala is trying to remind the people of Zambia that when the UPND moved the motion to impeach President Edgar Lungu in 2018, the Speaker, the Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya, Mr Isaac Mwanza and his YALI all sang in unison, saying that the National Assembly could not table the impeachment motion because some of the grounds advanced by the opposition were before the courts of law.
At that point, no one in government told the people of Zambia that the National Assembly makes its own rules and its debates cannot be interfered with by the proceedings in the Judiciary. Does this make sense? Brebner is asking, and adds that clearly the Speaker is being mischievous – and we agree.
The Speaker and the Patriotic Front don’t mean well for the people of Zambia, who ultimately own the Constitution of this country. We are seeing a pattern where those in positions of influence are trying to use the power of the voiceless to have things their way on this Constitution.
But, because we love the President so much, we wish to remind him that these people are doing wrong things in his name. We want the President to remember that it is his name that is being dented at the end of the day. He will stand alone when judgment day comes.
We know the President loves to go to Church, but he should not just attend church service, he must read the Bible and understand it. Yes, the Bible in Romans 13:1 says, “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God, and that the authorities that exist have been appointed by God.”
But we want our President to also appreciate that when God appoints leaders, he expects them to follow his words. He expects that leader to work for the people, and not the other way round. A government leader must not be a king, but a servant of the people and do that which the people want.
What is happening in our country now, under the leadership of Dr Lungu, has many sad examples in the Bible. Of course, we have a leader whom everyone says was appointed by God, but the people feel oppressed under his leadership. This, too, is biblical; there are examples outlined in the Bible where a God-chosen leader can oppress his own people.
In Romans 9:17, we are reminded of a king called Pharaoh. God put the Pharaoh of Egypt in his position of authority, there is no dispute there, but we are informed in Exodus 7 that this Pharaoh was an evil ruler. We want President Lungu to ask himself what kind of a ruler he is. Is he happy to be remembered as King Pharaoh who gave God no choice but to side with the oppressed population?
It’s a matter of time before we see President Lungu’s ending. In fact, at the rate we are going, President Lungu must be very lucky if God hasn’t already anointed someone else to takeover from him.
This constitution you are trying to manipulate cannot save you. You may add what you wish and remove what you detest, you can pay some members of parliament to pass this document, but if God has decided that you have departed from your calling, you will not retain power.
If the PF think this Constitution Amendment Bill No. 10 can help them maintain power beyond the people’s wish, beyond God’s-given mandate, they are wasting time! If they are not lucky, they will find themselves in the MMD situation where they have State machinery on their side, control of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, a Constitution that gives them an advantage and hundreds of millions of dollars for campaigns, but still lose the elections.
Zambians are waiting…