The folly and danger of blind loyalty!

Filed under: Special Comments |
Gen. Godfrey Miyanda

Gen. Godfrey Miyanda

By Brig. Gen. Godfrey Miyanda 

The misleading and dangerous statement by Mr Tutwa Ngulube, the PF Legal Advisor that “the inauguration of President-Elect Lungu should go on, with or without the petition” (Lusaka Times date 19th August 2016) must be challenged and corrected. Mr Ngulube is a lawyer and an officer of the Court who must be careful not take advantage of ignorant citizens by deliberately inciting them. At a time such as this wisdom is expected and is a better quality to pray for.

MISLEADING DECLARATION: The statement is misleading because it is not the law; it is dangerous because it has sown a rebellious seed among the public, especially PF cadres, to get them to be ready to rise up in the event of an adverse decision by the Court. The argument that there is no provision in the amended Constitution under which the swearing in of a President may be stopped is patently flawed. There are other provisions and precedents which militate against his generalised conclusions. In addition to the provisions under the Amended Constitution there are also Court Rules that may be used to augment an argument. For instance the English Rules of the Supreme Court (White Book 1999), which are still applicable in Zambia, guide first that petitions are not pleadings (as opposed to, say, a Statement of Claim) and secondly that they are to be dealt with according to the specific subject matter brought before the Court and the applicable Rules of Court. For instance the handling of a petition under liquidation and remedies thereof is different from that for dissolution of a marriage. I thus challenge Mr Ngulube to indicate which law petitioners of elections in Zambia should follow other than the Electoral Law and its Rules and Regulations. I contend that the holding of the presidential election on 11th August 2016 triggered the petition, which stands in the way of the swearing in until it is resolved. While the Constitutional provisions are the anchor of the case, it is the electoral law that must be applied to resolve any electoral disputes. What has happened is to remove the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as the court of first instance for presidential elections and transfer the jurisdiction to the Constitutional Court; everything else remains the same: the law, the procedures, the Rules and the reliefs and/or remedies. Mr Ngulube has not only misled himself, but has misled his cadres and the general public. His dangerous statement is another Armageddon for it has sown a rebellious seed among the public, especially PF cadres to get them to be ready to rise up in the event of a decision by the Court that does not agree with Mr Ngulube’s campaign message!

There are several reasons why an election petition results in nullification. The Learned author Lord Halsbury, in his Halsbury’s Laws, has explained this issue very well in his treatise on elections. He has listed and explained the grounds for petitioning, which are many and varied. They include bribery, treating, corrupt acts, illegal practices, publishing false statements in respect of other candidates, undue influence on voters by poorly timed but numerous charitable or philanthropic acts, interference with public meetings and, more importantly, breach of the electoral law as to elections. All these are on our statute books today, and are reinforced by the Amended Constitution assented to on 5th January 2016. Of course evidence is always demanded by the Courts!

DANGER IN THE AIR: Halsbury’s conclusions are different from lawyer Ngulube’s, because he says that if one provided credible evidence then such an election should be avoided (another term for nullification, which term is also found in our Electoral Act); to avoid connotes that the candidate cannot be sworn in. If our Electoral Act is put side by side with Halsbury’s we shall find that it is a carbon copy. I call upon Mr Ngulube to observe his own advice that “let us all wait for and respect the Constitutional Court to determine the matter…”. I agree, but that is Doublespeak for he should have not made his flawed statement in the first place. In our polarised atmosphere it is dangerous to mislead the public. I am sure that, as a lawyer, Mr Ngulube remembers the case of a former Chief Justice of Zambia, the Learned Mr Justice James Skinner, who was hounded out of office by party cadres and run away to Malawi. Mr Ngulube’s flawed arguments may tend to incite naïve members of the public. He has just been elected to Parliament; the Kabwe voters respect him and will likely believe whatever he says, even flawed legal arguments.

I advise Mr Ngulube to discard his blind loyalty but behave as a new broom, providing good leadership. The best and urgent advice he should have given was to his Party President, the President-Elect, to assist him to respect the constitutional transition in the Amended Constitution that he voluntarily assented to. Clearly Mr Ngulube has not carried out a proper job of advising his Party President. Even if his President was likely to ignore his advice as he has been doing with the Attorney General’s, Mr Ngulube should have tendered his advice and be vindicated later. It is dangerous to seek public support in order to become popular.

Although the Secretary to the Cabinet has belatedly called off the swearing in ceremony, much harm has been done, whose final chapter we may not predict. Let us pray that our citizens will not take the law in their hands, when the decision of the Constitutional Court does not go their way as happened in the James Skinner incident. Mr Ngulube, the ball is in your court to pre-empt the undesirable reactions.

[21ST AUGUST 2016]


10 Responses to The folly and danger of blind loyalty!

  1. The only incorruptible president Zambia will never have!
    Thank you General for timely advice for these morons. Lungu and PF is a curse for disobeying the supreme law of the land. Zambian men in uniform are also very disappointing for not protecting the will of the people! I miss the civilized MMD!

    August 22, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    • Ignorant people are easy to rule. Give them a pack of lies (bible) and some truths they will follow you blindly. It always works.

      Christianity is not African
      August 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm

  2. Konto iwe

    August 22, 2016 at 10:21 pm

  3. Ninshi mutachisha umuntu ngafwa ba kolwe imwe?, Mwanawasa was criticised badly durin his tym nd wn he died he nw bcm a hero. Bamumbi munda eimweeeee, let yo father stand as a presido and we shall see.

    August 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm

  4. don’t insult you christians for lungu

    August 23, 2016 at 1:19 am

  5. What a man you are General, reason in my other postings I have said you one of my 8 to 10 people I call real politicians. While Gen you specialize in discussing national issues others specialize and believe in talking about others people’s tribes.
    May the good Lord bless you with many more years of life. Hope you haven’t abandoned your game of squash.

    August 23, 2016 at 5:17 am

  6. Sir, we need men like you. It is very unfortunate that we cannot tell what yardsticks Zambians use to vote for a leader.

    It was a puzzle for me to see how Lusaka pipo went everywhere celebrating when ECL was declared winner. To me it was like a celebration by sinners entering hell.

    Your advice is profound, sound and objective. The only problem sir is that we are dealing with pipo whose standards, parameters and values are strange if not even unknown.
    Maybe we are dealing with people who are actually bewitched! They can vote even for the devil, so long the devil dresses well and offers some gifts such as cash money. Otherwise please keep it up, maybe sanity may return to them, and deliverance, so that they manage to hear although quite unlikely!!

    August 23, 2016 at 8:55 am

  7. If an educated enlightened man can look at the law, understand it and deliberately defy its implications, what more the cadre who is on the bottle early bells to strengthen himself as a supporter of a purported man of God, a humble man of the people!!! Humble enough to resist the implications of the law. Anyway may I not speak evil of the leader of my people. But currently he is not my official leader, or is he? I need guidance also on that one.

    August 23, 2016 at 9:01 am

  8. For some reason General Miyanda, I still see some element of sarcasm towards the President in your posting.

    August 23, 2016 at 11:06 am

  9. the general is ever full of insight and great depth of thought. While I agree with the analysis, I think it is wrongly targetted. PF’s legal counsel is not a public person to incite the public. probably many of the PF grass roots are just hearing about him now. For a message to incite the general masses, the speaker is as important as the message if not more important. HH therefore with only a few words can incite the masses because he is perceived as the leader of the grouping. Similarly also for ECL and any other leader. Other lesser leaders with known charisma and allowed to speak publicly on party issues regularly may also be believed to a lesser extent. Persons in the background though ever so important to the party may command little to no mass following among the grass roots. It is for this reason I think the General would have been apt and of service to the Land to address HH and if need be ECL.

    August 24, 2016 at 5:53 pm

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