Masebo Tribunal puzzle

The Patriotic Front has to display more political will to convince Zambians of its commitment and determination to fight corruption.

So far this will has been singularly lacking, as the Anti Corruption Commission(ACC) is now run by sanctimonious self serving proxies who are determined to cover up the plunder of resources which they have committed with impunity.

These are the people who engineered the illegal and unconstitutional removal of the previous Director General of the ACC Captain Kayukwa who would have pursued them for their vile deeds.

That is why the ACC is tootyhless. My Kabimba and his ilk can afford to march in and dictate terms to the hapless operatives.That is indeed why we are not surprised that the Tribunal which should have investigated wrong doing by the Minister of Tourism Mr. Sylvia Masebo was die an illegal death.

When President Rupiah Banda was confronted with allegations of one of his Ministers abusing the Ministerial code of Conduct, he let the rule of law of apply. A Tribunal was established for Mrs. Dora Siliya.

Zambians don’t expect any less from a Government that has pronounced itself as being allergic to corruption. Let there be no doubt that abuse of office is indeed corruption and must therefore be dealt with the same disdain and aversion as any other criminal act.

That is why it is surprising and will be an outrageous abrogation of the rule of law if it indeed turns out that the Tribunal intended to investigate the Minister of Tourism has been cancelled by executive fiat.

Such actions will achieve three things.

Firstly it will violate the principle of separation of powers which suggests among other things that nobody is above the law, therefore the Judiciary has the power and authority to adjudicate over matters brought before it concerning the executive. This can be done by petition or indeed judicial review as the case now.

Secondly it will expose and finally confirm that the PF only embraces or observes the fight against corruption in breach than in observance.

It will prove the existence of extreme impunity, while indicating that law enforcement agencies are targeted at harassing the opposition. Police can for example, be arrested on the highway while in a convoy and be arrested for over-speeding and holding an illegal assembly at the same time.

Such Police action show a high level of partisanship which should not be the case in a liberal democracy where authority is assumed to serve the common good rather than sectarian interest of the executive.

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly it will prove the existence of judicial interference, because the appointment and subsequent constitution of a tribunal is a judicial function over which the executive should have no oversight.

Time and again the Government has shown a propensity disregard court rulings as was the case when the UPND opted a court order allowing it to hold a rally in Kanyama. The Executive through the Police simply ignored the order and proceeded to deploy Police officers in the area to ensure that the rally did not take place.

The reason for cancelling the rally has never been fully explained because more than 200 officers were deployed to stop the rally while the Police had earlier claimed that the meeting  could not take place because they had  no police officers to provide security.

These and other breaches have also been cited in the   report prepared by the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) present to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth for referral to the Commonwealth a Ministerial Action Group.

Undoubtedly the Commonwealth will have something to say about the situation in Zambia. It is likely they will share the views of the  Catholic Bishops and recommend that the country changes tack in order to fulfill the demanding and exacting rigours of liberal democracy which we have embraced.

setting up of the tribunal follows a petition to the Chief Justice by former Transport and Communications Minister, William Harrington.

He had petitioned to investigate Ms. Siliya for allegedly breaching the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct Act.