Monthly Archives: July 2013

“I will always place my hopes in the young people” – Pope Francis

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Pope Francis on Sunday evening delivered his goodbye speech to all those present at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao Airport gathered to see him on his way and to say “farewell”.

In his address, Pope Francis said – “my thoughts turn to those who are at the heart of these celebrations: the young people!” . “Many of you came here as disciples” – he continued – “I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries”.
And he urged them to help build a civilization of love: “Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and the Gospel”.

“I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil” – Pope Francis said – “and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth”.

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/07/29/pope_francis_farewell:_i_will_always_place_my_hopes_in_young/en1-714828

POVERTY PAINS AND KILLS

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I just buried my young brother Paul who died at the age of 37 years. I remember from way back when we were growing up as young boys. Life was so hard that we were barely children of the streets surviving only by the Grace of God. Our mother was a poor and illiterate young girl living a life like so many other young girls of her class. She found herself with children at a very tender age from men who could not look after her and the three boys. However, we had to fight our way to survive the harshness of life under the circumstances.

By Grace I found myself managing through life and got educated because of one holy woman (my step mum) who picked me from my grandmother and made me live with my Dad in a moderate nice house.  I later found myself from one house to the other of my relatives after both my step-mum and Dad died. I held on to school and completed. My education opened many doors to bring me where I am today.

Unfortunately my other two young brothers did not get the luck I had. Our third born Michael found himself as a proper street boy living in Soweto Market where he died under a table, at the age of 19 years, out of Malaria and coldness.

Paul survived all these years as a lone man with some Somalian Trucking companies as a driver and apprentice auto-mechanics.  The young man was physically strong and worked hard, unfortunately he could not realize his full potentials due to lack of education and parental guidance. Paul died at the young age because he was ignorant of many things including the ARVs he was put on. When he became weak, he could not work and he lacked food. He found himself living with our weak-health poor mother in Kapiri rural where they had to move a distance to access the Medicare. It was almost impossible for Paul to overcome this difficulty. The man gave up after trying all sorts of tricks of life to survive and died in the house just before dawn.

My upbringing and the death of my brother is not unique.  This is the kind of life that translates the poverty levels in Country. It sounds so farfetched when we talk about poverty levels in luxurious hotels and lodges or Govt corridors. The 60% plus poverty statistics represents such realities of our Zambian life. Many young girls are finding themselves bearing children at a very tender age due to poverty which makes them fail to go to school. Without education, these girls are taken advantage of by the animal in man. The children they bear also fall in the same kind of life and the circle goes on. On the other hand children of the elite don’t know how painful hunger is. They go to nice schools and get the best jobs. One of my sister-cousins was just telling me that she gets K250 per month in a Lodge. Honestly, how can she survive?

The question is whose fault is it for this poverty which pains so much and killing our brothers and sisters. It is said that there is enough for everyone in the world, but why is it that 870 million people, or one in eight people in the world are poor. But as they say, think globally but act locally, we would therefore zero-in to Zambia and ask the same question. As one who has risen from abject poverty and gotten education, think we can change the poverty landscape if we implemented altruistic policies and Social Justice in our Governance. The problem is certainly complex but with great determination and self-giving, we can achieve milestones. I could not change the life of my brother Paul but I want to change the life of future generations. My the souls of the faithful departed rest in eternal peace. Amen

Constitution Making Process Prophet

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Can someone out there give me some confidence in the Constitution making process, because each time I try to have hope in this process, something pushes me ten steps backwards.
Not overlooking previous setbacks, in March 2013 I looked forward to 30th June for the Final Draft to be released by the Technical Committee (TC), alas this did not happen, in spite of our Justice Minister giving a stein ultimatum. The date was moved further, in a more speculative manner, to 31st July 2013. Before this date could become a reality, the same Justice Minister erased it from the notice board and gave a verge date of “before 30th December 2013″. To confirm the master’s assertions, the TC gave a Press briefing asking for more time till December 2013.
I have hoped against hope that the Govt would prove me wrong on this by giving the Zambian People a Constitution according to their aspirations, unfortunately my pride almost wants me to declare myself “Constitution Making Process prophet” of the “CSO Church”.
In view of the foregoing, I have always prayed and asked for Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) vigilance to check the Govt and make sure they do not waste this opportunity and resources again. CSOs stand in between the people and the Govt hence, their vigorous participation in the process would benefit both the Govt and the citizens, including the international Community. So far, a number of CSOs have tried to do their best but they have been hindered by lack of resources and Govt intimidation, while others, without principle have decided to be on the side of Govt to frustrate the process.
To cut the long story short, the Voice of the CSOs should be louder than ever before at this point in time, because we almost have this (Constitution) and we should not let the Govt manipulate this process. We need to stand together and demand for the Constitution which include the basic minimum principles.
I would also like to appeal to the Donor Community to be proactive other than reactive to always come in when things are bad. It is always more costly and risky to undo the damage than if you take preventative measures. I have said it before that Dictators are made out of the meek leaders with charisma which get into their heads mixed with the sweetness of power. Time to act is now.
Bear in mind there is also the NGO Act of 2009 to sort out some of the CSOs out of the sine.
God bless you all,

HE. M. C. Sata is Hoodwinking Voters

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By Naver Chayelela

According to a report on the Lusakatimes.com website, President Sata challenged the people of Chipata Central to elect an opposition Member of Parliament if they want to continue to live in poverty. He said this when he arrived in Chipata today to drum-up support for PF candidate in the Chipata central parliamentary by-election Lameck Mangani.

With all due respect to the Republican President and the people of Chipata together with their traditional leaders who seem overly impressed by such a statement, this is the kind of language which should not be tolerated and should therefore have no place in a modern democratic country like ours which is still on the path to developing a mature democratic culture and robust institutions of governance.

It is especially sad that such a statement – and other similar utterances – have been coming from the Head of State who is supposed to represent all the people of Zambia and serve their best interests, regardless of political affiliation, region, tribe or religion.

Such pronouncements are characteristic of neo-patrimonialism and exhibit thinking which is deeply steeped in the same. Neo-patrimonialism entails the vertical distribution of national resources, giving rise to patron-client networks which are based on powerful individuals, ethnic groupings or political parties. Most post-colonial Sub-Saharan African leaders, from Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere to our own Kenneth Kaunda espoused a neo-patrimonial political system, with all of them arguing that such was necessary for unity and development.

However, the outcome of such an irrational worldview is a matter of common knowledge. Today, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the only economically backward and underdeveloped region on earth. hoodwinking

If we are not careful to reject such careless utterances by politicians, we shall continue – like helpless moths to the flame – gravitating towards the same mistakes as a nation!

What’s the Truth on Zambeef?

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We are not trying to be doubting “Thomases” on the Ministry of Health revelation on the contamination of meat by Zambeef but we want to be more factual than naive to take anything published so far. Surely the revelations on Zambeef are so alarming and catastrophic. However, this issue is one of those that require caution and reason to conclude upon. There are few points which are not clear from our point of view.

 It is not clear to us where the samples were taken from, which outlets. This will help to ascertain the point of contamination and the contaminator.

The news that hit our media, including the speech by Minister in Parliament, reviewed that Aromatic Aldehydes was found in the samples. However, the recent revelations talks of formaldehydes. Is Aromatic Aldehydes the same substance as formaldehydes?

The other issue not clear to us, is the participation of Zambeef in all these tests. Our source reviews that, Zambeef is not being carried along in all the tests being done, so that they witness to the facts. With that in mind, would we not speculate about the genuineness of the samples and the results?

Anyway, as an organisation that promotes Justice, we would like to deal with facts beyond reasonable doubt, we are therefore carrying more investigations so that we get the TRUTH.

Judge Chikopa Tribunal Stopped

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Lusaka High court Judge Florence Lengalenga has stopped the tribunal proceedings after she granted Dr Justice Musonda a stay in the proceedings. The tribunal is chaired by Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa, who has been in the Country contentiously due to the legal battle between the State and the three suspended Judges.

Yesterday the Tribunal commenced its hearing of evidence and two witnesses testified. The two witnesses that appeared before the tribunal are High court Judge Albert Wood and High court acting Registrar Chilombo Phiri. One would question the motive of these two witnesses especially the former. Judge Woods seem to be the fountain of this battle. There must be reasonable cause for some Judges to suspect him of taking sides, hence him being asked to recuse himself from the DBZ case. Naturally, as a human being, one would feel bad that you are being accused. Principled people would handle this situation within themselves, but others would want to transpose things and show the accuser that, they are more powerful. Who told Mutembo Nchito that files where gambled from one Judge to the other in an irregular manner for him to rush to the President and report the three so that they can be sorted out.

Some people are saying that the Judges should just submit to this tribunal if they are not guilty, but surely we need to defend the Rule of Law. There are clear channels in which these Judges can be investigated and tried, instead of the Chikopa Tribunal. It is not too late for the President to correct things and have many Zambian people on their side.

The Legacy of Judge Lombe P. Chibesakunda

Justice Chibesakunda

The achievements of Justice Chibesakunda are tremedous. She is one of the magnificent jurist in the history of our Country.

Justice Lombe Phyllis Chibesakunda was Born on May 5, 1944 in Zambia, then called Northern Rhodesia. She did her secondary school at Chipembi Girls’ School and then went to National Institute of Public Administration.

Justice Chibesakunda has a Postgraduate diploma in International Law, Australian National University, Australia. She is a Barrister at Law, Grays Inn, United Kingdom. Her legal practice dates far back as the late 1960s. She is an epitome of women success as first woman lawyer in Zambia in 1969. In 1973 to 1975, she became the first woman Solicitor General in Zambia and Africa, won an award from Pope John Paul II (Pope Pius XIII award). She was the first woman to become a Judge in Zambia and became a Supreme Court Judge in 1997. In 1988 and 1998 she scooped the Woman of the Year awarded by the Government of Zambia.

She has administered and chaired a number of institutions including the Permanent Human Rights Commission and monitored the implementation of international human rights obligations by the Government. Her achievements took her to the level of Ambassador of Peace in 1999. 

Every well meaning Zambian definitely appreciates and adores Justice Chibesakunda for her achievements as a woman and as a Zambian. Unfortunately her appointment as Acting Chief Justice, after hounding out Justice Ernest Sakala, last year in June seem to be taking away part of her glory.

The Constitution of our Country on the part of appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court (Article 93 (3)) states that

If the office of Chief Justice is vacant or if the Chief Justice is on leave or is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, then, until a person has been appointed to, and has assumed the functions of, that office or until the person holding that office has resumed those functions, as the case may be, the President may appoint the Deputy Chief Justice or a Supreme Court judge to perform such functions.”

When Justice Ernest Sakala was hounded out of office, President Sata appointed Justice Chibesakunda who was a Supreme Court Judge at the time, hence she qualified and the appointment was legal thus far. 

On the other hand Article 98(1) of our Constitution guides that

 “a person holding the office of a judge of the Supreme Court or the office of a judge of the High Court shall vacate that office on attaining the age of sixty five year“. 

Following this article 98(1) Justice Chibesakunda’s appointment, as Acting Chief Justice, falls out of the law because she was 68 years old when she was appointed and now she is 69 years old. However, the president is exploiting a loophole in our Constitution to give a job to his own using the Article 98(1b) which states that

the President may appoint a judge of the High Court in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission or a judge of the Supreme Court, who has attained the age of sixty-five years for such further period, not exceeding seven years, as the President may determine.”

In this case mathematically we would say 1 x 0 = 0. When a Judge reaches 65 years, he/she must go, but the President can appoint such persons, in special circumstances to work as Judges or Puisne Judge for a period not exceeding 7 years. Justice Chibesakunda has only served 4 years after her retirement.

However, if one insists on holding on to the law, they can gamble with the  interpretation of Article 97(2) which reads

Where the President or the Judicial Service Commission, as the case may be, is satisfied that, by reason of special circumstances, a person who holds one of the specified qualifications is worthy, capable and suitable to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court or a puisne judge, notwithstanding that he has not held one or other of those qualifications for a total period of not less than seven years, the President acting in the case of a puisne judge in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, may dispense with the requirement that such person shall have held one or other of the specified qualifications for a total period of not less than seven years.

In this article you would have to argue the phase “by reason of special circumstances”, was Justice Chibesakunda appointed under special circumstances?

It is however, a fact that Justice Chibesakunda was rejected by parliament hence her chances of being a Chief Justice are bleak albeit she being kept in Acting position. It is also an abuse of the law by the President to keep her in an acting position for such a long time just because the law allows her to be there up to 7 years. The situation also erodes public confidence in the Judiciary because she is being perceived as an hired gun for the Govt. It is like the President is doing her a favour in keeping her in the job and naturally many think she has an obligation to give something back to the appointing authority. 

In her position, our Acting Chief Justice lacks authority and confidence, knowing that, she is on contract and anytime the President can pull the string and she is dead professionally. She can also not exert pressure on her subordinates to achieve any substantive change in the Judiciary because many of her colleagues see her as a fluke. It is therefore reasonable and morally right that she resigns on her own or the President relieve her of her duties before her achievements which she is admired for are thrown together with the dirty water of her last appointment.

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