Of rule of law

We can now understand why Supreme Court Judge Irene Mambilima can not be appointed as Chief Justice of this country, in spite of being the substantive Deputy Chief Justice.

She is resolute, determined and not prepared to brook any form of illegality or indeed abrogation of the law.

With her at the helm, we doubt that the Executive would have succeeded in stopping the appointment of a tribunal to investigate the corruption and abuse of office allegations leveled against the Minister of Tourism and Art Sylvia Masebo.

With her at the helm we doubt if Vice President Guy Scott would have said that the tribuna was on ,when the matter is still before the Supreme Court. It is as if he is privy to Supreme Court decision making.

Former Minister of Transport Harrington did what the law requiers for the constitution of tribunal, but this may not work because the executive has ordered the judiciarynot to proceed.

Judge Mambilima’s terse rebuke on the abrogation of electoral regulation and irresponsible conduct of some stakeholders is indicative of her firm stand of the law.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said that the Commission will not stand by to see the good name that Zambia earned after the 2011 tripartite elections be tarnished by the continuous abrogation of the electoral regulations.

Clearly she must be referring to Edgar Lungu the Minister of Home Affairs who did not seem to have taken kindly to the decision by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) decision to postpone the Livingstone by-election because of violence.

Quite apart from all other consideration the postponement was inevitable given that the Police, apparently working on instructions from Lusaka, have decapitated the entire leadership of  UPND on account of the death of one PF cadre Harrison Chanda.

Although the UPND feels unhappy with the postponement we feel that there was need for a cooling period to allow tempers come down before the two groups were brought into a situation that could very easily erupt into violence.

The Minister and his Police “constabulary” feel unhappy that the ECZ decided to postpone the elections without consulting them. The law does not require such consultation, and there is no doubt that the ECZ Chairman had very good reason for not doing so.

We can only hazard a guess.

Deputy Inspector General of Police did not consult the ECZ when he announced the cancellation of Public rallies. Under the law ECZ is responsible for setting up election and the mandate of the Police ends at ensuring that the time table is achieved peacefully.

The cancellation therefore came as a rebuff to the appropriate authority that is mandated to take such action.

However above all else the conduct of the Police in Livingstone remains very suspect, to the extent that  there is serious speculation that efforts are being made to justify the mass arrest of  UPND members, quite apart from associating them to the murder.

There is speculation that a number of Patriotic Front members including Western Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta who has appeared on Television on many occasions knows who the murderer or murderers were and therefore where the murder took place.

Mr. Mwaliteta’s aversion to the UPND is legendary. It will be recalled that on 31January 2013 he called a press briefing at which he introduced a young man Henry Lungu who had defected from the UPND to join the Patriotic Front. The defection was reported on radio to show how unpopular the UPND was.

Therefore Mr. Mwaliteta must have an idea of the political undercurrents and especially how the clash, if any occurred between the UPND and PF to result in the fatality.

That is why it was unfair for the Police to arrest an entire group of UPND cadres and even later arrest the Mayor of Livingstone and transport him to Lusaka where his lawyers had tremendous difficulty to see him.

Little wonder that not only the ECZ has difficulties with the Police but in fact most people involved in the Livingstone debacle has little faith in the manner the matter are being handled.

There is a very serious and real fear of a frame up by the Police.