Nullification reasons are very flimsy

Dear Editor

Having read the judgment by Judge Siavwapa, I can understand why the  Patriotic Front is fuming over the nullification of  Margaret Mwanakatwe’s seat.

Firstly the Judge seems to suggest that he did not recognize the status of Ms Mwanakatwe as Minister of Commerce. Where did the judge get the authority to disregard an executive action?

It is of course true that the Constitution court rendered a ruling on the matter, but this was a few days before the elections, meaning that for all practical purposes Ms. Mwanakatwe was serving as Minister.

For the Judge to suggest that Mrs Mwanakatwe was carrying herself as a Minister is an insult to the appointing authority, the President, to whom he, as a Judge swore an oath.

I haver no complaint against his decision to suggest that between the concourt judgmwent and election time the Minister had had no position. This is true and they accordingly vacated office, but to suggest that for the period she served before the conourt was a misapprehension is not acceptable, because it defeats the very purpose of courts of law which should adjudicate between differing [parties. In this case the President had an opinion just as the opposition had an opinion. The final result came from the concourt.

Equally, how did the Judge determine that public funds were used in the campaign. There was no evidence shown in the judgment. The nearest proof was the same allegation that she served as a Minister and may have benefitted from the position. This cannot be proof of using public funds.

The most laughable excuse for nullification was the use of the umbilical cord. To suggest that this was racial was just extending the matter too far. Mrs. Mwanakatwe had every reason to advance her cause in order to win the election,. In this regard she stated the truth and should be respected rather than being hounded out of Parliament.

I feel that this whole nullification leaves a lot to be desired.

I expected the reasons to be such that, the actions should have been spectacular enough to affect the entire electorate. There is no evidence that anything was done to affect the entire population of the electorate in Lusaka Central.

There is need for those presiding over these matters to be more sensitive and respond to the wishes of the electorate rather than respond to their ivory tower assessment of fact which are not in resonance with reality.

Gordon Mambwe.


Farewel Fidel Castro the great

Dear Editor,

Fidel Castro, the great progressive revolutionary is dead. Long live his progressive revolutionary ideals and ideas. 1959 is a year of great significance in my life. On January 8, 1959, Fidel Castro led a group of soldiers that included another great revolutionary, Che Guevara, in defeating the exploitative regime of Fulgencio Batista. This was a regime that was working in cahoots with imperialists from the USA to exploit Cuban peasants.

1959 is the year that I was also born, some months after Castro’s revolution. When later I studied the history of the Cuban revolution and Cuba’s role in liberating other oppressed peoples in Latin America and in Africa, I came to admire Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and other revolutionaries and liberators. Fidel Castro had entered my list of personal heroes.

With great admiration I read the liberation missions to the Congo (DRC), to Angola and Namibia. I have devoured biographies of Che Guevara that explain the ideologies that drove these great revolutionaries to risk their lives in the thick jungles of the Congo – exposure to deadly mosquitoes, the blistering storms and equatorial rain, not to mention the bullets supplied by the imperialists.

As an African, I feel eternally indebted to Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and the gallant Cuban soldiers who left their families and put their lives on the line for the liberation of my continent. The devious apartheid system in South Africa was defeated in large measure due to the sacrifices made by these global liberators and progressives.

I have had the privilege and honour of visiting Cuba twice. During those visits, I felt like I was on pilgrimage to a holy land. Touring the Revolutionary Museum in Havana, going through the history of how Fidel and his comrades went to the Sierra Maestra (a Cuban mountain range) to fight Batista and the sugar cane plantation barons, left a feeling of awe in me.

When you first land in Cuba, especially after you have visited countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Belgium, France, German, even China, you might quickly think that you have landed in a poor Third World Country such as Mali or Malawi. The taxis are anything but fancy – mostly old Mercedes Benzes from the 1960s.  Public buses (matatus) remind you of the jalopies that ply between the Nairobi CBD and Jerusalem or Jericho.

Many hotels (at least during my visits in 2005 and 2008) – “big” ones, not the River Road type – did not serve “BEST” (bacon, eggs, sausage and tea). They only had tea with some bread or sconce. I once asked a waiter why they did not provide bacon and sausages. His answer gave me food for thought. He said, “We try to maintain equality here. Why should some people eat those fancy foods yet many out in the villages cannot? Furthermore, we are more interested in the health of the people. We put our resources in hospitals and health centres and doctors. Go and check and you will see that our health care system is one of the best in the world.”

I later checked and found out that he was right. Cuba under Fidel Castro send thousands of doctors to support many developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. In 2014 when Ebola broke out in West Africa, Cuban health workers – highly qualified doctors – were dispatched to join in the fight against this very dangerous disease.

Despite what may appear to be visible underdevelopment (like lack of “real” 5 Star hotel service or modern taxi models of the Uber-type), Cuban people seemed genuinely happy with the state of public affairs. Their social welfare was of a fairly high standard.

I mourn Fidel Castro as my hero. His dedication to fighting imperialism, colonialism, and injustice won my admiration. He did not just condemn these ills perpetrated in Africa by our colonial masters but took action and made national sacrifices.

To appreciate the commitment, dedication and sacrifice made by Fidel Castro and his fellow global liberators, hear these words in a letter by Che Guevara to his eldest daughter, Hilda, on her birthday when he was fighting in faraway Africa, not for his country, Bolivia, but for the Congolese, “….I want you to know that I am thinking about you and I hope you are having a very happy birthday…. You must know that I am still far away and will be gone for quite some time, doing what I can to fight our enemies… Remember, there are still many years of struggle ahead, and even when you are a woman, you will have to do your part in the struggle. Meanwhile, you have to prepare yourself, be very revolutionary – which at your age means to learn a lot, as much as possible, and always be ready to support just causes.”  This is what drove the revolutionary Fidel and Ernesto Che Guevara. This is why they are my heroes.  Fare thee well my hero Fidel Castro. When you reach valley yonder, please say hello to Che, Nelson Mandela, Dedan Kimathi, Jaramogi Oginga, Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel, Patrice Lumumba, Pio Gama Pinto, Masinde Muliro and the many unsung heroes who will for sure give you a rousing welcome.

Eric Kuchio Makokha

Matasia, Ngong.  


Well done ZESCO United!

Dear editor,

 I wish to congratulate Team Ya Ziko, Zesco United Football Club on beating their rivals, Zanaco Football Club 1-0 during the Barclays Cup final at National Heroes Stadium on Saturday November 26, 2016. Zesco dominated first half of the match and created a myriad of scoring opportunities which they failed to score. Zanaco goalkeeper, Toaster Nsabata was equal to the task as he made brilliant saves thereby denying the Tenant Chembo tutored side, Zesco United goals in the first stanza of the game. The first half ended in a goalless affair. During the second half, the Numba Mumamba coached side Zanaco rose to the occasion by improving on their poor performance. At this juncture, the game became even as both teams showcased their football talents much to the amusement of the soccer fans, which included President Edgar Lungu, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president, Andrew Kamanga and some senior Government officials. Both teams kept on mounting pressure at each other, trying to hit at the back of the net or rather score. However, it was Zesco United which scored through the Democratic Republic of Congo born striker, Idris Ilunga Mbombo. The solitary goal by Mbombo is all that Zesco United needed to win the prestigious Barclays Cup for the fifth time since its inception in 2007. Zesco won the Barclays Cup in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014 and the recent one in 2016. Zesco’s winning of the 2016 Barclays Cup is a consolation for the team’s failure to defend the Super League title which they won in 2015. Zanaco has never won the Barclays Cup since its inception. Generally, both teams exhibited good football as they both contributed players to the Zambia national team. In any given football competition, there can only be one winner and this year’s winner of the Barclays Cup is Zesco. Truth be told, Zesco switched off Zanaco to win their fifth trophy. To Zesco, I say congratulations on winning the cup and consequently crowned as the 2016 Barclays Cup champions. ELEMIYA PHIRI, Lusaka.