Brebner Changala, the civil rights activist is today back at the steps of the High Court, resubmitting his application demanding that President Michael Sata must be subjected to a medical board to ascertain his physical and mental status after High Court Judge Isaac Chali dismissed his application on Friday last week.
Whether Mr Changala is right or wrong, we leave in the hands of competent judges but it will be injudicious for the courts to deny him the right to be heard.
Mr Changala’s fight is not coated with malice.
Perhaps it is because of PF government’s inability to come up with truthful statements which can help clear the speculations that people such as Mr Changala have gone to court.
For example, has Government looked at the Constitutional provision under Article 39 (1) of the Laws of Zambia?
The article states; “Whenever the President is absent from Zambia or considers it desirable so to do by reason of illness or for any other cause, he may by direction in writing, authorize the Vice-President, or where the Vice President is absent from Zambia or is incapable of discharging the functions of the office of President, any other person, to discharge such functions of the office of the President as he may specify, and the vice president or such other person may discharge those functions until this authority is revoked by the President.”
Mr Changala is not demanding that Mr Michael Sata vacates the office of the President on suspicion of ill health but merely trying to establish the truth about the Head of State because of the misinformation coming from Government leaders.
If indeed President Sata is ill as many people such as members of Parliament and the clergy in the name of Bishop John Mambo suspect, then the President can rest in the constitutional provision above.
President Sata is free to delegate his duties to any person who would discharge the duties of the presidency.
The problem we have is that nobody is willing to tell the Zambians the health status of President Sata and who is running the country.
Instead of institutions of governance helping to arrive at a just decision about whether President Sata should be subjected to a medical board, Zambians are treated to judgements that attack people who are using the constitution to resolve the problem.
The ruling against an application to compel Cabinet to establish a medical board is a case in point.
The ruling went beyond the scrutiny of exhibits to attack the persona of Mr Changala and ourselves who have carried stories contrary to the views of Government leaders who are not offering any solution to end speculation over the health status of President Sata.
We believe that in the absence of a reasonable explanation or the inability of President Sata to tell the nation who is carrying out his duties, Mr Changala had the right to seek the intervention of the courts to compel cabinet to establish a medical board to examine the head of State’s ability to discharge Presidential duties.
The use of the law is the honourable thing that should be done so that an aggrieved party can receive justice.
If however there is also an opposing view, that voice should be heard so that both sides of the argument are heard.
In the alternative, President Sata and his Cabinet can come out in the open and tell Zambians who is running the country.