Caritas condemns PF for attacking LAZ

 

Caritas Zambia has been following with dismay the recent attacks directed at the LAZ and its President in herpersonal capacity.

That is why we totally agree with the SADC Lawyers Association that said, “The march andsiege of the Bar Association’s offices in broad daylight is the height of assault on the Rule of Law andindependence of the legal profession in Zambia.” Indeed, what transpired on the material day goes to show howlow we have sunk as a country on such matters, and this worrying assault on what is remaining of our democratictenets in Zambia needs to be halted and reversed henceforth.

At the same time, Caritas Zambia wishes to statethat it fully and solidly stands in solidarity with LAZ and its President, Ms. Linda Kasonde.Some sections of the media for some time now have been involved in verbal war against the association calling it all sorts of names and in some extreme cases calling for it to disband. Some people even suggested for the establishment of another association for lawyers.

It is strange and unfortunate that in a democratic country that Zambia claims to be, voices that have defended the role and integrity of LAZ are often demonized and not given the space and opportunity to express their views. When this is done, especially by the public and some pro-government media, they are expressed in the negative and in a number of cases, condemned and referred to as not sincere.

We wonder how the voices of credible organisations such as NGOCC, Medical Association of Zambia the Oasis Forum, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and many others can be said to be insincere on this matter, concerning the observance of the Rule of Law.

What has the LAZ done to warrant these attacks which are said to be from only one section of the society, associated with the ruling party? Is it wrong for LAZ to intervene in cases where the Rule of Law is threatened with abrogation?

Is it wrong for LAZ to give guidance where the constitution is deliberately being misinterpreted to suit the greed agenda and schemes of a few politicians?

We ask these questions because we have not heard any organisation in Zambia that is truly nonpartisan expressing misgivings on the work theLAZ has been doing. In our view, the demonstration that took place on Friday 3rd March 2027 cannot besupported by any law abiding Zambian because it was aimed at intimidating and causing fear among the staffworking for LAZ at the secretariat. It was aimed at silencing LAZ and any other critical voice in the nationthrough political and physical violence. Instituting fear in people on national matters is not democracy. It isdictatorship of the worst kind. After all, we are not a nation ruled by cadres. Or are we? As Caritas Zambia, westand in solidarity with all people of good will who will not fold hands and merely watch political cadres drivethis beautiful country into lawlessness.While Caritas Zambia believes that every Zambian, whether alone or as a group has the right to express their views and opinions through peaceful means, we do not believe that such expressions should be done by people carrying sticks, clubs, stones, hummers and other tools of violence. Again we ask, why would you condemn a Law Association

which is guiding you on the rule of law? What interests do you want the Association to serve? Is it not public interest that is at stake here?We thus urge all well-meaning members of the Association to support their own institution in its work topromote the Rule of Law. At the moment, the Rule of Law is under extreme threat.

Furthermore, we call upon allZambians to condemn actions that promote lawlessness. As a nation, we should understand that for a societyto function properly, democratic institutions must be allowed to operate freely, with integrity andindependence, not under political intimidation by the powerful. A just society demands that all its childrenare treated equitably and when they have cases, their cases are heard by an impartial court/jury. Anything short of this is unjust.

Eugene Abilika
Executive Director
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