Constitutional lawyer Sakwiba Sikota says the Patriotic Front is just wasting time taking President Rupiah Banda’s parentage issue to court.
He told the Watchdog that the action by the PF secretary General Wynter Kabimba to start the fight over President Banda’s parentage will not yield anything.
“This is a non-starter tactic Wynter Kabimba and the PF have taken, in-fact they are just wasting their time, it is a desperate move of doing things. My humble advise to Kabimba is let him take a leaf from what happened in a similar matter of the late Frederick Chiluba.”
He said it was a lunatic way of handling and fighting the current leadership of President Banda because there are no laws that support the claims by the PF leadership.
“The PF approach to this issue reminds me about what was called Lunatic Right String in the US, there were people who questioned Obama Barrack’s parentage, the right to become president of the US, they did that because they failed to fight his policies and the progress that he had made in governance and we see the same happening in this matter, issues that happened before 1964 are not Zambian,” he said.
He has advised Kabimba to read through the supreme court judgment of the Mbikusita Akashambatwa Lewanika, the late Dean Namulya Mung’omba, Achuunga Everisto Kambaila, Sebastian Zulu and Jean Phiri vs. Titus Frederick Titus Jacob Chiluba, saying there was no Zambia before 1964 and such claims would not be entertained.
“Tell Kabimba to read through the Judgment from the 1998 Zambia Law Report about the Chiluba matter, I was privileged that I worked with the team and the judgment is there to see, so it is a nonstarter, these guys are just wasting their time and actually they are the ones who should be called under five because they are being immature in the manner they are bringing up these issues, to President Banda.
My advice is that he should not be swayed by these people he should concentrate on building on what he has started, let him tell the people what he will continue doing for the betterment of the country and let me borrow some phrase from the PF President Banda donchi Kubeba over your parentage continue campaigning because it is a non-starter.”
He said he would like to advise Mr. Sata and the PF that the question of parentage of a Presidential candidate is unfruitful debate and was sorted out during the Presidential petition of 1996 on Late Dr. FTJ Chiluba’s parentage.
He said the matter was also resolved when First Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was about to be deported over his citizenship; the results of the case equally had an impact on the election petition concerning Late Dr. Chiluba’s case.
Sakwiba also advised the PF to consult with the lawyers that were involved in the Presidential Petition of 1996 which included questions over Late Dr. Chiluba’s parentage. The lawyers are Prof. Parick Mvunga S.C., Hon. Sakwiba Sikota S.C., Nellie Mutti, Eric Silwamba S.C., and Vincent Malambo S.C..
He said all of these can confirm that it is a waste of time for the PF to ask the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to look into the matter. The PF can look at the judgement passed by the Supreme Court during the petition of Late Dr. Chiluba’s parentage.
He said it will clearly show them that they are diverting from real issues and engaging in unfruitful debate.
He said this case is reported in the 1998 Zambia Law Reports and that the case showed that had President Kaunda presented himself as a candidate in the 1996 Presidential Election he would not have been barred.
Sakwiba said that indeed the Zambian Judiciary also stopped the proposed deportation of President Kaunda by also relying on the case of the Election Petition.
The Supreme Court in the Chiluba Petition said, “Per curiam. The parentage qualification for election as president introduced into the Constitution of Zambia 1991 by the amendment in 1996 pose a number of difficulties apparently without solution, eg whether the reference is to legitimate or biological parentage and whether adoptive parentage is included .”
Sakwiba said the PF are therefore running into a blind alley over this parentage issue adding that it is a diversion much like the “Lunatic Right Fringe” in the United States who tried to stop the candidature of Barrack Obama over his birthplace when they realized he was much too powerful an opponent to beat at the polls.
As for asking international organizations to intervene; International law requires that you exhaust your domestic avenue of redressing any grievance before they will look at your complaint.
Our Constitution provides in Article 41 that all matters relating to the Election of a President shall be heard by the full bench of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has stated that these issues can only be raised after an election has been held.
The PF are therefore free to raise any issues they may wish to do relating to the Presidential Election after they have lost the elections. For now they would be best served to concentrate on the campaign rather than treading down the path to a blind alley.
He called upon Sata and the PF to emulate more serious opposition political parties such as the UPND, HERITAGE, ADD, NAREP and UNIP whom he said have not resorted to running away from real issues and raising unfruitful debates.
He said for many years now there have been questions about Sata’s true identity;
He said Zambians have heard some people suggest that Mr. Sata comes from Tanzania, while others have equally said that his parents come from Malawi, but at no time has any serious political party wasted time engaging into useless debate of where Mr. Sata actually comes from. Others have even gone as far as suggesting that Mr. Sata’s name does not appear anywhere in the nine provinces of Zambia.
Sakwiba said with less than 60 days remaining before the election date the people of Zambia expect that Sata and the PF should have been expending their energies telling the nation about Mr. Sata’s ninety days development wonder. We want to know how this ninety days fix would work for the people of Zambia.
The PF should concentrate on telling the people of Zambia how Mr. Sata will create jobs in ninety days without creating new companies, how he will resolve the constitutional issues in ninety days even when he knows that we need a referendum for certain parts to do this, the PF should tell the nation how they will build roads and clinics in ninety days through out the country. Mr. Sata and the PF should also tell the people of Zambia where people will be lining and queuing up to receive more money in their pockets without working.
And Sakwiba says the UPND is conducting issue based campaigns than the Patriotic Front ahead of the election.
In an interview with the Watchdog Thursday morning, Sikota said it was encouraging to see the UPND giving the Patriotic Front and its leader Michael Sata a good run for their money. He said the UPND has managed to do this because of being issue based during their campaigns ahead of the elections next month.
“UPND has managed to be more issue based campaign than the PF and it has started giving the PF a good run for their money, it won’t be surprising to see UPND come out second in the election because of theway they are conducting campaigns.”
Sikota who is United Liberal Party (ULP) president said it was clear that Zambians have now shifted from the kind of politics that promotes hate, insults and character assassination to issue based.
He said the people of Zambia were looking more to the UPND leadership than the PF.
“This does not mean that UPND or the PF will carry the day, it is my opinion that the MMD will still retain power under president Rupiah Banda because the party and its leadership are more organized and widespread. However, the UPND’s way of campaign is now attracting people to join and support the party and its leadership,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sikota has refuted claims that President Banda has promised him the position of speaker of the National Assembly if he retains power.
Sikota who attended President Banda’s launch of 2011 MMD election campaigns at Hotel Intercontinental said the Speaker is nominated by Members of Parliament and voted by Parliament and not the head of state.
“The position of speaker of the National Assembly is not appointed by the President. MPs nominate a person with qualifications of a Member of Parliament and vote,” he said.
He said he did not apply to contest as area Member of Parliament on the MMD ticket because he is not in support of the third term and not because he’s been promised the position of Speaker.
But the Watchdog has information that Sikota is eying the position of Speaker in the next session. Amussa Mwnamwamba has retired as Speaker.