A PAPER ON THE CASE OF THE MISSING COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF!
[Brig Gen Godfrey Miyanda -27th August 2014 15:00]
Since his election three years ago in 2011 the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, has uncharacteristically avoided addressing the nation. This year he has been out of the public view for close to three months in spite of public queries and demands. A picture taken when he appeared at a court session this year revealed the frail figure of an emaciated person, thereby providing circumstantial evidence that the President is definitely NOT well. That picture drew mixed reactions, some of anger, consternation, incredulity, pity and even some of suppressed joy! Consequently the picture invited furious speculation about the state of the President’s health.
This situation has given rise to spirited interpretations and speculations in an effort to find a solution to this unprecedented event since our independence in 1964, and even beyond to colonial times. So the concerns by citizens are not malicious or idle gossip.
BRIEF HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Mr Sata, while in opposition, raised combative questions about the health of the late President Mwanawasa, predicting a national crisis and insisting on the establishment of a Medical Board. Answers were provided (including by the author of this paper when he was in South Africa) but there was no crisis because the Constitution was followed. The episode has repeated itself, but with the shoe being on President Sata’s foot. The difference is that this time there has been no truthful answer from the elected Government but lies and more lies!
THE RIGHT TO LIE?
The question now is “does the Government have the right to lie and/or continue to lie?” The answer is no. In fact it is doubtful if there is a country that has a deliberate policy of lying, even for alleged security reasons without briefing the people to justify their action. The implications of the Executive silence include the compromised or impaired security of the state and the President. We doubt who is in charge and cannot accept any Jim or Jack claiming to be acting or speaking on behalf of the President. This has created a leadership void which has led to dark forces plotting to exploit the situation. The uncertain status of the appointment of Dr Guy Scott as VP has also added to the in-fighting and jostling in the PF ranks. The PF hawks are aware of this and know the health status of the President, hence the jostling and finger-pointing.
Another question that needs to be answered is: “in the event that the President is incapacitated and those charged with the responsibility have NOT acted, how should the impasse be resolved?” The Constitution is very clear, but the Cabinet is impotent. The responsibility for resolving the impasse that is facing us lies first with the President himself and subsequently with the Cabinet.
On 25th August 2014 the substantive Vice President, Dr Guy Scott, made another of his myriads of “gospels” on the President’s absence. The statement was devoid of substance and provided no solution. In terms of Article 39 the President has power to delegate the Vice President in writing to act in his absence or in case of illness until he revokes that delegation. If the President is incapable of such a delegation by virtue of illness or other incapacity then the Vice President automatically acts; if the VP is also absent or incapacitated, the Cabinet will choose one of them to act. The Constitution is neither ambiguous nor silent. The question is: why have the Executive not followed the law which is not ambiguous? Why the obvious lies that they know everyone knows are lies? The reason for this inaction is that the Cabinet and other PF factions know the condition of the President but are pre-occupied with positioning themselves for the high ground. The current law does NOT allow the Cabinet to ignore the Constitution, hence the Cabinet is guilty of deliberately breaching the Constitution.
WHAT TO DO/CONCLUSION
This scandal demands truthful answers by a proper person representing the Executive. We suggest that either Dr Scott, Minister Chikwanda, Minister Lungu or all three of them together address a live broadcast and take questions from the public! This is not a PF affair, and it is not even a family affair but a matter that concerns the whole nation’s well-being, security and stability. No one must hold the nation to ransom: not the President, not the PF and not even those who bank-rolled the PF in the last election.
The PF can keep their PF president and deal with that situation as they feel. ButWe, the People, must claim our Republican President and demand for the truth, the whole truth. The Executive must tell all there is to tell and answer, inter alia, the following questions: where is the Republican President and how is he? Why is he not talking to his people? Can he speak? Can he see? Can he hear? Can he recognise people? Can he write? Is it him who has been writing on Facebook? Is he safe or is he a captive? When and what was his last executive instruction and to whom was it addressed and delivered?
We are in this situation today because of ignoring the Constitution and other laws, including those that demand for strict observance of procedures, whether this be in court processes or appointments of persons to various offices, especially constitutional ones. We must strive to re-introduce and observe the Rule of Law. We shall never put right what has gone wrong if we seek refuge in the Law of the Jungle.Let us start by impeaching the whole Cabinet or charging them with failure to perform their constitutional obligations!
[27TH AUGUST 2014]