Zambia, where do we go now? Asks VJ

 

It is obvious that regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court, we shall have an inauguration after been a flawed Presidential election. since our country returned to multi party politics in 1991, After the debacle of the Constitutional Court , which failed to hear the election petition brought by Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Mwamba , against the election of Edgar Lungu and Inonge Wina on 11th August,2016, the nation is still in a state of shock and disbelief . The tension in our country is palpable . The subject of the petition not being heard at all, still dominates conversation at dinner tables and other social gatherings.
Serious questions have emerged about the purpose for setting up a constitutional Court, which is not going to hear petitions and quality of men and women who should sit on that court and and the experience they should possess to guarantee that justice is not denied to citizens. There are additional questions for our law makers too, who conduct ratification hearings to make sure that only the right people serve on this important court whose decisions cannot be appealed anywhere. People nominated by the President and sent to Parliament for ratification, should be subjected to severe scrutiny to make sure that they are experienced enough and suitably qualified to occupy the high offices to which they have been nominated . Ratification should therefore, not just be a formality , but a serious process , which serves the greater good of society.
The last presidential election, has left a deeply divided country with fifty percent of the population celebrating and the other fifty percent bitter and angry about the failure of the constitutional court to hear a petition, which was properly before the court as the constitution of zambia demands . UPND was within its right to pursue a legal path by going to court to present whatever evidence they had and let the matter be decided purely on its merit . This path was sadly denied and justice has become a bridge too far , in a country which has been acclaimed the world over as a beacon of peace and constitutionalism . Something has seriously gone wrong and national soul searching is called for.
The election has also left friends and family divided and irresponsible statements by some of our political leaders are fueling tribal animosity in a country which has lived under the banner of one zambia , one nation for fifty two years. Statesmanship and leadership will be required to heal the wounds of division and reconcile our nation. A deeply divided country is the last thing we want to see at this difficult time. Dialogue at the political level is desperately needed and even if it is promoted by SADC or the AU, to address the deep differences which have emerged and which will not go away on their own . Arrogance of power in situations like this will not bring us peace. we need dialogue for the better good of mother zambia, because peace once lost, is very difficult to re-establish as experience has shown in other countries. As the old adage goes “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The country faces gigantic economic , social, political and constitutional problems which will require consensus building inside and outside parliament. We still have a very defective constitution which has be exercabated by the rejection of the referendum which would have introduced a new bill of rights.
The economy has been slowing down and soon , there will be an austerity programme imposed by the Brettonwoods institutions , which will result in a higher cost of living for all and impose additional hardship on the population. We also have to deal with the issue of the independent media which has been denied operating space as democracy demands . An independent media is essential in every democracy to help achieve checks and balances, as opposed to merely on a tame state media which merely acts as a supplement to the government gazette . There will be people

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