Bwalya says if lawyers will not succeed to impeach LAZ president Linda Kasonde this Saturday, the ruling party will move to dissolve the Law Association of Zambia.
Speaking at a forum at Chrismar Hotel yesterday where he explained the decision to move a motion for the vote of no confidence against Kasonde, ahead of the weekend Extraordinary General Meeting, KBF said the current LAZ leadership had failed.
“Those of us who have been around the association will know that when a social-political question is put in the legal form by the public or anyone else to say ‘lawyers can you assist us’; we don’t answer that question alone; even if you are in the executive. This is the problem we have with the current executive. Those of us who are moving this motion maybe perceived to be pursuing unknown agendas; I have no intention of being president of LAZ,” KBF said.
“This is for you who are coming up, to run this association because some of us now are going into retirement. But if we don’t carry our tradition, we don’t carry our meaningful stance, we shall lose ourselves.”
He said those in the ruling party perceive LAZ as being too political.
“What made us move the motion? Well, like I said, we all have the right to become politicians or not. And some of us who have chosen to be politicians, mingle with the politicians. We heard in the corridors of power that LAZ has become political; according to the politicians. Their perception is that ‘LAZ is attacking us too much. LAZ is issuing too many statements’,” KBF said.
“So they summoned some of us, we heard: ‘gentlemen there is a problem in your association, what’s the problem?’ examples were given. During the presidential election petition last year, the association applied on the principle of amicus curiae to be part of the petition case. The Constitutional Court threw us out because under amicus curiae you must demonstrate to the court that your expertise as a friend of the court is necessary. We are not experts in presidential election petitions. Number two we had no locus standi, we are not a political party, so the court said ‘what are you doing here?’”
He explained that the people who run the corridors of power took offence with the decision by LAZ and sounded a warning to the association members.
“That became a problem because the people who run the corridors of power asked, ‘why do you want to join the petition case?’ We had no answer. ‘Did you resolve as LAZ to join this case?’ Obviously we didn’t, the executive acted on its own. There was a problem. Strike two; statements began to flow. Judges who have no union were being insulted and called Judas Iscariots, statements were being given on the floor of the court against judges, and we as an association did not issue any statement condemning that kind of language against judges,” KBF recalled.
“So the people in the political corridors of power are saying ‘if you do not put your house in order as LAZ, then we feel it is time that we acted as politicians because we shall treat LAZ as a political animal.”
He said the PF made it clear to him that if the current LAZ executive was not removed, a bill would be taken to parliament to dissolve the association.
“They said ‘we shall go to the same parliament and create other statutes, which will allow other people to co-exist. Once we do that, then you will decide which association you belong to, we shall also decided which association to recognise and deal with you’,” KBF quoted the ruling party as saying.
“Our motion to have the current executive impeached, or at least suffer the vote of no confidence is based on this thing. Let us save the association. We are looking like the bad guys now, but our view and what we know about politicians is that if we continue with this current executive which has no relationship with the political corridors of power, how are we going to invite them to come to the association, to dinars, to our functions? How are we going to be seen as interactive?” wondered KBF.
He said to save LAZ, members of the association needed to do what the politicians wanted.
“That is how it dawned on some of us and we said we can’t let the association suffer. If we have to save the association, the politicians are saying ‘put your house in order or we scatter you’. If the politicians tell us ‘you have failed to do what we asked you to do and we are now going to take this [Law Societies Bill] to parliament’, trust me they have the numbers to dissolve LAZ and scatter us.”
He then appealed to about 25 lawyers who attended the forum to vote out the current LAZ executive.
The question before you therefore is, ‘is this current LAZ executive indispensable?’ My humble answer is no. We have among ourselves people who can lead this association without being partisan or political,” said KBF.
A few other lawyers spoke at the forum, all in support of KBF’s motion.
Meanwhile during the question an answer session, KBF wondered why LAZ under Kasonde televised a UPND press briefing live on the association’s Facebook page.
And KBF went further to narrate how Kasonde and her deputy Eddie Mwitwa went to his office to beg him to intercede in the tension between the government and LAZ.
“They came to my office unannounced and asked me to help bridge the gap… I was a one hour 45 minutes conversation; ordinarily I would have sent them a bill. I told them do this, don’t do that… but they did not do the things I told them,” said KBF.