HAKAINDE Hichilema, president of the opposition UPND, says never before in the history of Zambia has any piece of legislation been so heavily marketed as Bill 10. He says the campaign by the Patriotic Front to pass Bill 10 is enough proof that “there is certainly an evil motive behind it because a good piece of law speaks for itself.”
Mr Hichilema, or Bally as he prefers to be called lately, has a very good point. His observations echo an editorial comment that we published three months ago, just before the PF’s first attempt to pass Bill 10 collapsed. This bad piece of legislation called Bill 10 has come back in an attempt to exploit its proverbial ninth life. The people and their lawmakers need to be reminded about the dangers of enacting Bill 10.
We need to warn the people who are supporting Bill 10, especially those who are in support of this legislation without counting the cost to our democracy.
Life is full of many examples to learn from but many people choose not to draw lessons from them. Somehow, we keep repeating the same mistakes regardless of the consequences. A few years back, many politically energetic youths were sponsored to wage a vigorous campaign for the Patriotic Front, and they delivered. But after the paymasters achieved what they wanted from those youths, they rendered them useless. The paymasters are now enjoying life in government and threatening to arrest anyone who complains about how they are governing the country. “Stupid”, “naked”, “disgruntled” “nonsensical” are some of the words being used to describe the youths who vigorously campaigned to put them in power.
The PF now knows that their time in office is under threat. There is a high chance that in the next 12 months or so, the people of Zambia may kick them out of office. In order to increase their chances of survival, they have crafted a Bill that gives them a technical advantage over their political rivals. They know that this particular law is bad and there is nothing in it that should motivate citizens to support it. Typical of their tactics, they have recruited mercenaries to champion the legislation of Bill 10. It is not in doubt that the majority of those who have been recruited do not care to understand what Bill 10 seeks to achieve, and you can tell from the messages that are inscribed on their placards.
These people have to be warned that soon, once and if this Bill is passed, they will be tossed aside. The same paymasters who are sponsoring them will turn around to use the same legislation to silence them. These people must ask themselves why their paymasters are willing to spend money on enacting a law that is supposed to be for the good of the people. Is that normal? How many laws does parliament pass in one sitting? When did they ever see ministers and MPs spending so much money on public marches meant to show solidarity for a Bill?
The answer is very simple. PF and its ministers are in trouble. Look at the language being used by Justice Minister Given Lubinda towards civil society organisations challenging him for gazetting the Bill! He says questioning his actions amounts to foolishness. To us, that is not mere arrogance, there is desperation written all over that conduct. And there is a good reason for the Minister of Justice’s panic.
People like Honourable Lubinda probably have very serious problems waiting for them outside government. But Lubinda should know better. He is not the first person in his position who is going to champion a wrong cause that comes back to haunt him and even eat him.
What is this Bill 10 that they are trying to shove down our throats? Forget the jargon around it. It is a simple attempt to grab power. The PF want to run Zambia without Zambians having a say. But that is not all; Bill 10 is about keeping President Edgar Lungu in State House. This is what PF are fighting for. The logic seems to be that if President Lungu stays in power, PF stays in power, which means more eating for those who are close to power. This has got nothing to do with national interest.
And people Like Given Lubinda need to tell us what is so special about President Lungu that we should destroy our Constitution to keep him in power. What is it that makes President Lungu so special? What special leadership qualities has Given seen in President Lungu or is it about self-preservation?
Given Lubinda and many like him who may be pushing Bill 10 in the mistaken belief that there will be rewards should learn from history. This won’t end well for them. We are not prophets and do not claim to have prophetic powers, we are just a newspaper, but what we see in the PF is enough to tell us that it won’t end well for Given Lubinda. Betrayal and treachery is the way this PF is run and Given Lubinda must prepare himself to drink from that chalice. Pushing Bill 10 will not help him. It is better for him and others like him to do what is right.
It must be clear to anyone who is honest in the PF government that giving President Lungu absolute power is not the way to go. This is wrong and must be stopped. A famous historian once said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This must be stopped. All Zambians of goodwill, whether in PF or anywhere else, must stand to stop this attempt to colonise Zambia, led by President Lungu and his inner circle. They don’t mean well.