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Moria displaying a copy of a newspaper carrying a picture of a naked Patriotic Front member who was protesting against the victory of the ruling MMD candidate Rupiah Banda in the October 30th, Presidential Elections

Moria displaying a copy of a newspaper carrying a picture of a naked Patriotic Front member who was protesting against the victory of the ruling MMD candidate Rupiah Banda in the October 30th, Presidential Elections

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November 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sata goes to court as RB sits on throne

By Nalumino Nalumino

The 2008 President Elections in Zambia are over; the winner Rupiah Bwezani Banda has been sworn into office becoming the fourth Republican President taking over from the late Dr Levy Mwanawasa who died in August in a French military hospital in Paris.

However, doubts largely linger in the minds of some citizens especially that President Banda won the election with a slim margin resulting in the opposition Patriotic Front led by Michael Sata petitioning the Supreme Court demanding a recount and scrutiny of votes in 77 constituencies.

Mr Sata argues that in 2006 the total registered voters were 3,941,229. This time around the figure has allegedly increased in the absence of new voters registration to 3,944,135. He says the increment of voters by 2,906 may appear insignificant but it is a great deal in an election.

This argument, however may not hold water because Banda won the election by over 30,000 votes. People are eager to see how the arguments will be put before the Supreme Court in an effort to convince their Lords that indeed malpractices did take place.

The PF’s argument will be particularly painful before the Supreme Court because one losing candidate in this very election, General Godfrey Miyanda of the Heritage Party commended the electoral body, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for what he termed as “well conducted elections in a transparent manner given the circumstances in which the country went to the polls”.

General Miyanda (Rtd) said this when he conceded defeat a day after Zambians voted during a live televised interview on state television channel, Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation (ZNBC) and carried live also on other television as well as radio stations.

As if this was not enough the United Party for National Development (UPND) will not petition the election results despite citing a number of electoral malpractices by some parties that participated in the election adding that the petition is a waste of time.

Party president and also losing candidate in the just ended elections; Hakainde Hichilema said the party will now concentrate on providing alternative leadership by formulating policies that can help address challenges the country is faced with.

Mr. Hichilema said his party will also continue to prepare for the 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections.

He described the just-ended presidential polls as the most competitive and exciting elections the country has ever had.

Mr. Hichilema also thanked Zambians for voting peacefully in the tightly contested polls. He has however expressed concern about the low voter turnout which was attributed to voter apathy among registered voters.

Speaking during a media briefing the opposition party leader also commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for facilitating the October 30 polls professionally despite the pressure on the commission.

What this means for Mr Sata, from an independent view; is that while he has a legitimate complaint not only as an opposition leader but most importantly as a Zambian; his legal team comprising former Attorney General Bonaventure Mutale, Robert Simeza, Wynter Kabimba & Company, Edgar Lungu and Mumba Kapumpa will certainly have an uphill legal battle and most Zambians are interested to see their tact this time around.

In the meantime, Banda who now seats on the thrown in State House having been sworn in November 2nd, 2008 two days after the elections in a ceremony held at Parliament grounds attended by several heads of states and government.

Out of the many pledges made in his inaugural speech, the striking one is Banda’s desire to fight poverty; a line ever present in most speeches president by the late Mwanawasa, a man who put a common man as top priority on his agenda.

This statement is resonating well and has been welcomed by many Zambians including Non-governmental Organisations. There is no doubt that Banda’s assessment for re-election in 2011 if ever he dares to test his popularity by contesting for Republican Presidency will be on the basis of whether or not he will manage to conquer poverty.

 

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Levy Mwanawasa and our generation’s mission

By Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

Responding to the death of Samora Machel, Thomas Sankara declared that:

“we have no intention of taking part in the competition among cynics who degree so and so many days of mourning, each one trying to assure us of their grief and attempting to demonstrate it by shedding tears, tears we revolutionaries must be able to see for what they are.”

But, even at the risk of being misidentified, let me record a response to the death of Levy, as one of those to whom Levy Mwanawasa was a comrade with who we shared a mission of a generation, and not a ladder for personal ambitions, individual careers and private gains.  This

Like Levy Mwanawasa, I was born on the Copperbelt, in 1948, when the first African political party, the Northern Rhodesia African Congress was founded, under the President-Generalship of my father, Mbikusita Lewanika.  Having already had my 60th birthday this year, I had been looking forward to teasing him for being younger than me, when he would have had his own 60th birthday on 3rd September, had he lived a couple of weeks mores.  I have been presumptuous that, through him, and with him, our generation would have ten years to recover and advance our 1990 dream for democracy and development. And, now, with his death before the scheduled end of his second term, we, the initiators and custodians of this dream are challenged to keep a hold of, and guard, his legacy, so that it is not recaptured by corrupt and money mongering forces.

 

Unconditionally Available

At his presidential inauguration in January 2002, I was the first opposition leader to be unconditionally available to assist Levy in “re-democratising” Zambia, fighting against corruption, reversing a quarter of a century of economic regression and emancipating our country from a debt-burdened puppet status.

Since 1990, I have been one of Levy Mwanawasa’s comrades in the struggle, first to end the One Party State, and of later to fight against a culture of corruption as well as to pave a pragmatic way forwards to economic recovery and transformation.  I have been the founder National Secretary, in the National Interim Committee of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), in which a served together with Levy, between July 1990 and March 1991.  This Movement spearheaded the campaign to end the One Party State, when it took personal sacrifice and risks to be a member or leader of MMD.  Again, together with Levy Mwanawasa, I served in the first post One Party State Cabinet, under President Frederick Chiluba, during those initial days of patriotism and promise. Later, we both resigned in protest against the growth of corruption, among other reasons.  And, we shared the experience of having been humiliated at a Convention for standing up for the MMD founding values and principles, though at different times.

In all this, we acted in order to fulfill, and not to break, the promises of freedom and democracy as well as social progress and economic development of the African Independence and liberation movement.  We did not, and do not, act for lack of appreciation for all the contributors and contribution towards these noble aspirations. We did not act to reinforce the prejudices and interests of those who have all along been against African self-determination, self-rule and emancipation.  We did not, and do not, act on behalf of those who thrive on the exploitation and land grabbing in African.  We did not, do not, applaud those who have all along dehumanized Africans.  In all this, we have stood with Levy Mwanawasa, therefore, his principled and brave stand on the current Zimbabwe issue should not be misrepresented to have been against African liberators or liberation.   

His Legacy

I would like nothing more than that his legacy be regarded as positively as possible, but not incorrectly. Thus, I have had to overcome the temptation to refrain from critiquing the seemingly flattering categorization of Levy as the “President of Zambia who fought against corruption and was a fierce and vocal critic of Robert Mugabe.”


Yes, it is correct that Levy Mwanawasa has been part of a new generation of African leaders whose formative years were not spent fighting for liberation, and, as indicated above, his presidency had taken on the fight against corruption.  But, it is s misrepresentation to say, as one publication states, that either this background, or indeed anything else, led him to become “a fierce critic of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, and that “where Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola saw a fellow liberation leader under attack from the West, Mwanawasa saw an ailing demagogue whose freefalling economy was having a devastating effect on the region.”

Levy, like many of us in Zambia, Africa and elsewhere, had much compassion for Zimbabwe refugees, whatever caused it, and victims of violence, whoever occasioned it, and was disturbed and frustrated by flawed Zimbbwe 2008 presidential elections in 2008. And, no doubt was set to have expressed these serious concerns and pushed for a way out of this tragic and shameful situation that has arisen in Zimbabwe.  It is a mistake to presume that this was an anti-Mugabe stance. Rather, it was a pro-Zimbabwe approach.  It was not against the agreed SADC diplomatic and negation options.

 

Demonizing Mugabe

Levy did not think, speak or act that demonizing President Mugabe or abandoning the efforts by President Thabo Mbeki at getting the contending parties to negotiation tables.  In fact, at his last press conference on the Zimbabwe situation, he was demanding to be more fully consulted and briefed on the conduct and proceedings of the Mbeki efforts to get the contending parties more towards agreement, as well as pleading to both parties to put Zimbabwe first. Levy was far from being content with just condemning the poll or condemning Mugabe, he really wanted Zimbabweans to dialogue with each other towards a win-win solution, which would advance the day the country would have elections whose conduct and result would undisputable enough to allow for a return to normalcy.

Had he lived on, Levy would have wished success in continuing what has been referred to as the “attempt by Mbeki to broker a power-sharing settlement between Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai.”  He would not be anticipating to be celebrating the collapsing of these talks.  And, much as I understand, and, even welcome the reason and act of boycotting the SADC meeting by the Botswana Government, but Levy would not have done the same.  He would have recognised that equally democratic champions can adopt different signals and approaches in to moving Zimbabwe to its proper state in Africa.  And, as the would-have-been outgoing SADC Chairperson, he would not have shared the option of boycotting that some other member states may have had.

Imprinted contributor

In his life, he seized upon his educational, professional and political opportunities to have merited to be remembered, as an imprinted contributor to nation building and remodeling, in the spirit of the genuine liberators of Africa.  In a sense, he gave his life for the redemption of our land and people, and, therefore, his life and death should inform and fortify us as a committed people on a nationalist agenda.

 

Ends.

Note: Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika is co-founder of Zambias’ governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy, the revolutionary party that ousted United National Independence Party government at the time led by Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda in 1991. Before his demise, Dr Mwanawasa had appointed Aka as he is popularly as Chairperson, National Governing Council (NGC) to locally oversee the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CHIBUMBA (WALL): LEVY LEGACY

By Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika

It was our earnest desire that President Mwanawasa may have recovered as much of his health and as fast as is possible, but this was not to be.

 

His national service has already cost him and his family too much sacrifices, and, now his death is yet another blow.  Heart-felt condolences and prayers for them to retain the fortitude that earned Levy the nickname “Cibumba.” We share in their loss, and grieve with them in mourning, as we have had to do all too often, over the years.  Long live Levy’s legacy

 

It is significance that the presidency is the first mentioned branch of government in the Constitution of Zambia. This makes it essential to have presidential continuity in the current Zambian system of governance, even the distressing lost of President Levy Mwanawasa, whose nickname likened him to a solid wall, “chibumba”.   

 

This is underscored by need for a constitutionally correct and dignified transition.  And, beyond this, it calls for even enhanced determination to continue with anti-corruption, pro-development and social inclusivity Levy legacy.  On this ground, it has been reassuring that, during President Mwanawasa’s illness, there has been calm continuity in the presidency, under the unruffled and mature hand of Vice President Rupiah Banda.  This is a good example for political party actors and citizens to follow, especially after his heartbreaking death.

 

The captain of the national team has been taken off the field, on account of fatal illness. Appropriate team spirit and national patriotism requires that remaining players should instantaneously and calmly continue with the game, under a steady and sound substitute captaincy.  In fact, under these circumstance, they are called upon demonstrate a renewed vitality to overcome the potential handicap of playing without a leading team mate.

 

Similarly, in the face of the demise of our President, political leaders and citizens should act in this fashion.  This would be a good testimony to the leadership of President Mwanawasa, because a team that is lost, in the absence of a leader, was no team in the first place.  In this regard, they should rely on the guidance of the letter of the Constitution and the spirit of national responsible, and display unity and ability to continue without disruption.

Naturally, what has happened prods us to think about need for government continuity, even while brings out compassionate concern for our fallen comrade.  We must accept that life and health could neither be predicted nor commanded our wishes as human beings.  But, we must find assurance in the fact that the State Constitution adequately provides for all circumstances, through ensuring continuity in state functions and responsibilities, including delivery of social, economic and political services. The Constitution provides for continuity of government, under all circumstances, when a substitute or replacement presidency is called for.

 

I am regrettably mindful of the toll that the leadership burden of state could have had on his health.  He has come to public leadership, not by self-promotion or intrigues, but on unsolicited requests.  The first request was for him to join the National Interim Committee, when some of us founded the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD.  The second request was ten years later, the National Executive Committee of the MMD voted his as the party’s presidential candidate.  In accepting these invitations, he has displayed exemplary servant leadership, with personal sacrifice and commonsensical good citizenship.  There has been need for more people to have been more available or availed opportunities to share and lighten this burden on his shoulders.  It is unfortunate that it has not been possible for more people to have been of more assistance, then his health could have been better shielded, and his leadership made lighter and less of a health risk.  This would have been possible through more committed and broader team sharing of political and development dreams, decisions and duties of leadership.

 

Of course, it is not comfortable to consider the possibility of serious political or health adversities where the presidency is concerned, but it is required to face even such unpleasant factors factually, responsibly and sensitively.  Issues of continuity need to be appreciated in all the three branches of government and national sectors, with the most critical issues being with regard to the Executive Branch.  The legal set up and performance of presidential functions is the most visible, and potentially the most easily re-assuring point of effecting continuity of government.  Effective and clear continuity in performance of the functions of the Office of the President is critical in establishing giving assurance that there is a credible and legitimate national leadership.

 

There are seven circumstances under which a new President is elected or substitute person is called upon to perform the function of the office of president.  These are upon completion of the normal term of office as well as in case of presidential absence from the country, dissolution of Parliament, resignation, impeachment, illness, incapacitation or demise.  The country has existing protection in the Constitution in case of need for temporal or permanent transfer of presidential and other state power and responsibilities to legitimate authorities.  Even in the case where some political actors and groupings exhibit leadership weaknesses or absence of good judgment, these state constitutional provisions can serve to render strong security of government continuity.

 

There are issues of continuity that need to be well known, appreciated and managed absolutely in all the three branches of government and national sectors, with the most critical issues being with regard to the Executive Branch.  The legal set up and performance of presidential functions is the most visible, and potentially the most easily re-assuring point of effecting continuity of government.  Effective and clear continuity in performance of the functions of the Office of the President is critical in establishing assurance that there is a credible and legitimate national leadership.

A remedy is provided for in Article 38, for when the office of the President becomes vacant by reason of his death or resignation or by reason of his ceasing to hold office by virtue of Article 36, 37 or 88.  In these circumstances the Constitution provides for an election to the office of the President to be held within ninety days from the date of the office becoming vacant.  Whenever the office of the President becomes vacant in this way, the Vice-President shall perform the functions of the office of the President until a person elected as President assumes office.  In performing these functions before the election, the Vice-President shall not dissolve the National Assembly nor, except on the advice of the Cabinet, revoke any appointment made by the President.

 

This is different from a situation upon completion of the normal term of office, dissolution of Parliament, resignation, impeachment, illness, incapacitation or demise. Article 34, section 2, requires that a new presidential election shall take place whenever Parliament is dissolved.  Article 35 states that the normal presidential term of office shall be five years, and that a President may resign.  Article 37 provides for the impeachment of a president.  But, article 38, among other things, provides for what follows in case of the undesirable event of the demise of a President while in office, as a contingency plan.

 

There is need to ensure that continuity of Government is seen, and believed, to be adequately functioning on an earnest ongoing basis.  Now is the time when it is necessary to show strong leadership and legitimate institutions demonstrating capacity for government continuity and prove of statesmanship, on the part of political leaders, as well as professional resolve by civil servants.  Under all circumstances, the challenge is to ensure that there is continuation of a legitimate and expeditiously functioning government authority.  Zambia’s history re-assures that we, as a people, can meet this challenge.

 

Zambia’s future can benefit from having this challenge meet, but it is only possible under a leadership of men and women who are clean, clear, competent, committed, credible, courageous and compassionate.  Indeed, it would be an appropriate cap on the Levy legacy, if insist on meeting this challenge of ensuring continuity of governance and economic recovery, as we uphold the anti-corruption crusade.

Hamba kahle, mufwewetu!  Aluta Continua!

Note: Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika is co-founder of Zambias’ governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy, the revolutionary party that ousted United National Independence Party government at the time led by Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda in 1991. Before his death, President Mwanawasa had appointed Aka as he is populary known as Chairperson of the National Governing Council (NGC) to locally oversee the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

 

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment