I am rather surprised at the twisted reports relating to the encounter between the Chief justice, His Lordship Ernest Sakala and Patriotic Front (PF) leader Mr. Michael Sata.
I am also shocked that an encounter between two parishioners has been blown out of context and is now a dirty excuse and evil plot to scandalize and remove Chief Justice Ernest Sakala.
Following the valedictory service at the Supreme Court for the late Supreme Court Justice, His Lordship Peter Chitengi, we all rushed to Catholic Church at St. Ignatius, where the requiem service was to be held at 10:30hrs. This was on 23rd June 2010.
When we arrived we all took our seats with the Chief Justice, Ernest Sakala taking the first sit on the front pew with his fellow Supreme Court Justices and some government officials such as Minister of Defence, Dr. Kalombo Mwansa
The entire rows behind were taken up by mostly, High Court judges, members of the Judiciary, and members from the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) chambers. Some ministers such as Mike Mulongoti and Kenneth Konga sat on the benches with family members.
When the body arrived and was placed at back of the Church in readiness for the service, Mr. Michael Sata walked in accompanied by Given Lubinda and other PF officials.
At this stage, the entire church was seated and almost silent. Mr. Sata headed straight to the front seats but was quickly restrained by ushers who showed where his seat and that of his officials were.
He refused. He then went where some women were seated and asked them to give him and his officials space. There was some small drama as the women appeared reluctant to leave their seats as the church at this stage was full to capacity. This situation was only rescued by the ushers who insisted that Mr. Sata and his officials had his seats allotted to them. He was led to these seats.
It’s at this stage that Mr. Sata began his drama. He began to go around the benches especially those occupied by the Judiciary and lawyers. Clearly he had mistimed his greetings. Usually at a funeral service, such open interaction is left for outside after the body viewing which is after the service. Mr. Sata ignored this decorum and appeared desperate to be recognized by everybody and to establish his presence.
Mr. Sata began to prance about asking for Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) President Stephen Lungu. Lungu was seated with Attorney General Abyud Shonga.
There were audible murmurs about this conduct.
Probably as a Chief Mourner, the Chief Justice was disgusted with this conduct which does not fit with the status of Mr. Sata and showed his disapproval by not extending his hand to greet this excited politician.
It is not up to me to justify the open disdain shown by the Chief Justice against Mr. Sata, but my guess would be that the disapproval was not to Mr. Sata but his open misconduct at a funeral of dear colleague.
But the mummers were heard everywhere. Many were wondering. How could a leader seeking the highest office in the land disregard the mourning environment and traditions of a somber gathering like a funeral and preoccupy himself with selfish activities designed to give him cheap publicity?
Even when he was not greeted by several people or some chose to ignore him totally, Mr. Sata went about repeatedly visiting these benches. At one time, he came to these benches loudly calling and asking “where is Chalwe Farai Mchenga?” he kept on calling for the DPP demanding that he needs to know Mchenga as he is the only lawyer he doesn’t know personally.
Clearly the post newspaper deliberately ignored all these matters and fished out facts out of context for their own selfish reasons. It is not surprising that this has now formed the basis of a dirty campaign designed to hound out office a constitutional office holder.
But now The Post is known to make an issue national, when in fact it is a private agenda. This Chief Justice Ernest Sakala is a man they worked well with. His entire Supreme Court Bench once attended a gala night hosted by The Post. The fall-out has been steep and the empire was partially dismantled with Sakala’s loyalties lying with the State and with Justice and not with private individuals.
It’s up to you to be ensnared to a private agenda or make a stop to what “the Post wants the Post gets philosophy”.
It’s incumbent upon LAZ to speak against these open plots and evils against constitutional officers or institutions such as the Judiciary will fall prey to the evil influences and manipulations and will continuously be held hostage by The Post.
We might not like Chief Justice Sakala, but to allow The Post hound out office or willfully participate in schemes selfishly designed to scandalize officials is not acceptable. They have been campaigning for the removal of Vice-President George Kunda, the DPP Chalwe Mchenga, Inspector General of Police Kabonde and that has been resisted and ignored. This scheme falls in that category and is best ignored.