THOSE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES: The famous case of Edith Nawakwi v Lusaka City Council and Bernedette Sikanyika Appeal No. 26 of 2001.
On Saturday 6th February, 2021, Madam Edith Nawikwi took to the media in a “Chilufya Tayali” style of advocacy to the court of public opinion to hoodwink the members of the public into believing that HH is crooked and immoral. She laboured to parade volumes of exhibits and made spirited arguments to the effect that HH makes moronic decisions of buying properties from poor people in a Machiavelli fashion.
The visibly annoyed and frustrated Nawakwi went so far as attacking HH’s lawyer (myself) not so much for the fact that I once worked for the Deeds Registry but – truth be told – for being a “frustrating and relentless” lawyer who secured two Judgements in a row and in the same week in favour of her arch nemesis. “Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Law is something else my dear Edith.”
It was clear that she burnt the midnight oil to study my past and see if she could dig out some dirt for a showdown on me. Suffice it to say that Ms. Nawakwi knows me and I also know her. I first met her sometime in 1999 when she sat across my desk at the Deeds Registry, with the heavy weight, pomp and splendour of a Minister of Finance to insist that a conveyance relating to two Farms in Chisamba be registered in her name on the same day. I did my job and my then boss, Mrs. Kinnear, signed off the documents. She was impressed with me not only because I delivered but because I rejected a K100 note she dangled at me. I never sunk so low even though my salary was paltry being civil servant. My dignity would not allow me and that is why I left for law school and later left the civil service to better my life and that of my children.
My second encounter with the name of Edith Nawakwi was at Law School (2001-2005), in the same class with the likes of now Dr. Fred M’membe, when we learnt of the famous case of Edith Nawakwi v Lusaka City Council and Bernedette Sikanyika (cited above). In that case, Ms Nawakwi, a Minister then, disadvantaged a sitting tenant (one Benedette Sikanyika) from buying a house on Katima Mulilo Road, near the Arcades flyover bridge just so that she could buy it herself from Lusaka City Council. Mrs. Sikanyika could not understand why her offer to buy the house was rejected by Lusaka Citity Council when she was an eligible sitting tenant until she learnt later on that it was Ms. Nawakwi (a in Minister then in the Chiluba Government) who bought the house. Ms. Nawakwi, then attempted to evict Mrs. Sikanyika from the house but the poor lady fought tooth and nail in the High Court and won the case. Nawakwi appealed against the High Court decision but lamentably lost again in the Supreme Court.
So you see, Nawakwi is just a loser. A bad one for that matter. Nawakwi is the last person to talk about the moral campus because she is on record for stealing a house from a poor Mrs. Benedette Sikanyika. It is true therefore that those who live in glass houses must not throw stones.
There are other scandals like the Carlington Maize scandal which point fingers to Ms. Nawakwi as Minister. On the other hand there is no judgement against HH for stealing property from the poor or anybody for that matter. HH has always bought his properties and there is no single property I know which HH acquired directly from Ministry of Lands. I also worked at Lands Dept and even served the current President ECL when he was a lawyer but I never acquired any piece of land from Ministry of Lands. I prefer to buy.
It is the elephant in the room as to why Nawakwi throws tantrums against HH. Nawakwi knows too well that it is impossible for her to even get 100 votes in the forthcoming elections and the best is to sing a song that enchants the Republican President (ECL) so that she can be cherrypicked for the position of running mate cum Vice President. This will – by far – be the best Nawakwi could ever achieve in her political career and it is certainly not a bad idea after all when you come to think of it. “Nice try Edith!”
Unfortunately, instead of dangling economic formulas to ECL that can assist him improve the economy, the easy and plausable route for most politicians like Nawakwi is to take on the incumbent’s strongest contender through a smear campaign to gain visibility. I find this to be very unfortunate and retrogressive. It is nothing short of cheap politics. Politics of character assassination. So cheap!
On a melancholy note, my take is that, for as along as cheap politicians like Nawakwi get rewards from the incumbent regime for such cheap politics, when progressive people that float ideas of improving the lives of our people are sidelined, then ours will for a long time be politics of the cheap, for the cheap and by the cheap. In consequence of the foregoing, the political space and discourse will be uninspiring. I noticed that the journalists that attended Ms. Nawakwi’s press briefing did not even ask any question to her. They were not moved. They were not inspired.