Saturday, December 19, 2009

‘Mchenga must go’

‘Mchenga must go’
By Editor
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

It is sad and unfortunate that whenever a citizen criticises those in government or takes a position that is contrary to theirs, their first instinct is to smear him with the filth of being sponsored by the opposition or some foreigners.

Every opposition or dissent that they face, however self created, will eventually be blamed on the opposition, foreigners or the enemy within. But as we have stated before, it is quite true that the acceptance of criticism implies the highest respect for the human ideal, and that its denial suggests a conscious or an unconscious lack of humanity on our part.

When the Law Association of Zambia has in the past taken positions that appear favourable to Rupiah Banda and his minions, they did not complain and accuse the Law Association of Zambia of being political. But today, the Law Association of Zambia is under attack from them because it has taken a position which they don’t like.

This is what people who refuse to be accountable do. They forget so easily what happened yesterday and even what they said a few days ago. It is easy for them to try and ignore or distort the history of the Law Association of Zambia.

None of those attacking the Law Association of Zambia today have forgotten what this association did in 1990/1991 in helping to move this country from a one-party state to a multi-party political dispensation. The Law Association of Zambia took a strong and prominent position in that campaign. None of them can today honestly accuse the Law Association of Zambia of having been political in that regard. And they did not do so at that time.

Again in 2001, the Law Association of Zambia under the very able leadership of the now State Counsel Christopher Mundia, joined civil society to protect the constitutional order in our country. No one can deny the fact that the Law Association of Zambia played a pivotal role in stopping Frederick Chiluba’s ill-conceived bid for unconstitutional third term of office. Again, no one can say the Law Association of Zambia and State Counsel Mundia were political and were being used by the opposition.

The Law Association of Zambia has played a very important role in the development of the rule of law in our country. And that role should be maintained and not be compromised in any way whatever the political expediencies of the moment may be.

In times of crisis, when legal issues that confuse the public arise, the Law Association of Zambia has traditionally risen to the challenge and offered its guidance. It cannot be denied that this role of the Law Association of Zambia is also recognised by those who are today trying to call its leadership all sorts of names and demonise them.

Let us not forget the fact that after the highly questionable acquittal of Chiluba, Chiluba himself demanded that the Law Association should take a position and not the other people who were commenting on the issue. Even Chiluba’s backers looked up to the Law Association of Zambia for support. We are not surprised therefore that they are disappointed by the position taken by the Law Association of Zambia and they are today accusing it and its leadership of all sorts of things when they are simply fulfilling their duty as required by the Law Association of Zambia Act, Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia.

George Kunda, who today is attacking the Law Association of Zambia, knows this Act of parliament and understands its provisions. The only reason George is criticising the Law Association of Zambia today is because of the political opportunism that he has embraced shamelessly and that has contaminated his soul and mind.

Under Section 4, the Law Association of Zambia Act clearly provides its objects and functions as, inter alia, the following: to further the development of law as an instrument of social order and social justice and as an essential element in the growth of society; to provide a means by which all lawyers, whatever their particular field of activity, can participate together fully and effectively in the development of society and its institutions; to encourage lawyers as individuals to join actively in the life of, and identify themselves with, the people, and to utilise their skills and training in their service; to maintain and improve the standards of conduct of all members of the legal profession; to co-operate with the representative bodies of other professions and other institutions; to seek the advancement of the rule of law and of the rights and liberties of the individual; to promote the improvement and reform of the judicial and administrative systems, including tribunals and their procedure; to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in regard to their conditions of practice, remuneration and otherwise; to protect and assist the public in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the legal profession; to do all such other things as may be conducive to the attainment of the foregoing objects or any of them.

George understands all these provisions of the Law Association of Zambia Act and yet he has chosen to try and scandalise the decisions and actions of the association and its leadership that are totally within the objects and functions of its operations.

George is a member and former president of the Law Association of Zambia. How can he today say that the Law Association of Zambia’s position should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves? What is he saying about the legal profession?

We are not surprised by the rabid attacks that George has unleashed on the Law Association of Zambia and its leadership. This is what George has become in his political life: an attack dog for its political masters. A man who should otherwise give sound and solid advice has become a political megaphone, to borrow from George Mpombo’s phraseology. George has mastered the art of being a minion. He will do anything for his boss however unreasonable it may be.

To understand some of the problems that have bedeviled Rupiah’s government and even Levy Mwanawasa before him, one needs to understand the destructive role that George has been playing. George is very good at playing up issues that cause problems for his bosses behind the scenes without him taking the blame. He rarely takes responsibility for the wrong advice he gives and the consequences that follow his bosses.

Let’s not forget what George did to Levy over Kashiwa Bulaya and the constitution review process. He tied Levy in all sorts of sixes and sevens and was never there to protect his boss when he needed him most. On Bulaya, George made sure that he used the likes of Chalwe Mchenga and others whilst keeping himself hidden during that whole process.

George did the same over the constitution review process. He caused so many problems for Levy that even things that could have been settled became contentious. George never took any responsibility. George is a trouble maker who does not have the courage to fight. He is a coward who is everywhere provoking fights and then when the time to fight comes, he ducks and stands at a safe distance.

Being Vice-President and Minister of Justice has enabled George to use many people whilst hiding in the background. We challenge George to deny that he was not involved in the ill-conceived prosecution of Chansa Kabwela? We also challenge George to deny that he has not been directing the police, Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission in their miserably failed efforts to try and fix us over Zambian Airways? We further challenge George to deny that he is not behind these ill-conceived attempts at statutory regulation of the media?

All these evil schemes of George may have endeared him to Rupiah but they have had the effect of destroying, discrediting Rupiah’s political standing and the popularity and integrity of his government. But one thing Rupiah and those around him should learn is that George has no permanent loyalty, he is a snake that slips away so quickly and so smoothly. Just ask those who worked with him under Levy and they will tell you how quickly and smoothly George has distanced himself from everything that Levy stood for, things in which George had a big contribution. Look at how quickly and smoothly George has distanced himself from Levy’s noble fight against corruption.

When one talks about the London High Court judgment today in this country, it’s very difficult to realise or even believe that it was started and executed in George’s name. Today, George is defending Chiluba, claiming he is an innocent man! Today, George is dilly-dallying to have the London High Court judgment – a judgment which he himself obtained – enforced against Chiluba and his tandem of thieves. This is the George we are talking about today. This is the George who is today attacking the Law Association of Zambia and its leadership.

Consistent with his style, the minister in George’s office, Gastone Sichilima, was the first one to come out in attacking the Law Association of Zambia and calling for Stephen Lungu’s resignation as president of the association. It was clear to anyone who cared to look that Gastone was acting as George’s minion. Moreover, what does Gastone know about law? It was only after Gastone had spoken that George himself now showed his big head.

And their demand for Steve to resign can work to their disadvantage. If they doubt this, George is a member of the Law Association of Zambia, let him push for an extraordinary general meeting and see what will happen even to those members of the council they had sponsored. George has become a dangerous liability to the rule of law in our country. This is why his protégé Mchenga is having the kinds of problems he finds himself in today. Mchenga is paying for abdicating his constitutional responsibility and becoming George’s minion, for hiring himself out to wrong doers.

There is no doubt Mchenga must go because there is nothing in him left to enable him to function as a respectable and dignified Director of Public Prosecutions. Mchenga may be moving around in a suit and a necktie, pretending that all is well and he can weather the storm but inside him, he is a dead man, a finished character. So the only dignified thing for Mchenga to do is to go before a lot of things are said about him.

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