Prosecute Lucy too

by mazuba mwiinga

The principle of rule of law we have umpteenthly been preached at for as far back as 1990 and beyond, to be the governing pillar of this nation, is frighteningly being continued to be abated by those who feel are so powerful and in charge of everything this country may have.

Day in and day out, we see members of the executive organ of our government breach the laws of our land with impunity.

Today we are still talking about Dr. Musonda and his shooting spree, when even the case of Mumfumbwe driver is still not yet over, and we now read a Deputy Minister Lucy Changwe bouncing a cheque with an ‘I don’t care’ attitude.

In court today is Mr. George Mpombo over a similar charge of bouncing a cheque of a similar amount, and he is facing litigation for his alleged crime.

Now the heavy question on our back is: “will the State exercise its duty and prosecute Changwe too?” The answer is hardly imagined; for if today Dr. Musonda drives the streets of our cities and towns, his pistol brandishing his thighs, having a slumber of conscienceless bullet blood on his hands, what then, do we expect from the Police for this financial crime now allegedly committed by Ms. Changwe?

Our laws have been totally subjected to a pure mockery of rule by law formula; in which a government applies its laws only on those who are on the other side of its ideas and sinks its head in the sand when one of them crosses the line.

This dear country was founded on laws which are supposed to mete punishment to any one who breaches them as Article 1 (3) of our Constitution states: “This Constitution shall bind all persons in the Republic of Zambia and all Legislative, Executive and Judicial organs of the State at all levels”, meaning that no one is above the law.

Our country is a republic and not an oligarchy where the leader decides who to chop the head and who to spare. This legacy the Rupiah Banda is creating today will surely leave a lot of scars for the future generation to wonder at and call for retribution; and when that time comes, umwi uyakulila. (Someone will weep like a spanked child)

Daylight breaking of the law and getting away with it as if nothing has happened is such a serious set back to our democracy. The day the tears of our people will stop flowing down their cheeks, calling for peace would sound a faint voice from a sealed tin. We are really tired of lawlessness in our country done by the same people who are supposed to be executing the laws.

Copyright: June 17, 2010,

M'membe prisoner of conscience

by mazuba mwiinga

Writer, Moris West once wrote in his book Shoes of the Fisherman that, “It takes so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price”.

And such vivid reassuring words reminds me of how The Post newspaper at the helm of one inspiring man Fred M’membe have dared all the odds of journalism to buttress the principles of free press and truth searching this country has been denied before, for more than 20 years now.

And it’s true (Amos Chanda, The Post June 7, 2010) there is nothing more befitting than calling M’membe a prisoner of conscience, and free press hero.

Reasons for jailing M’membe leave much to be believed in this circumstance. According to our Penal Code, CAP 87 of the Laws of Zambia, Section 26 (3), says: “A person convicted of a felony, other than manslaughter, may be sentenced to pay a fine in addition to imprisonment: Provided that, where such person is a corporation, the corporation may be sentenced to a fine instead of imprisonment”.

The law (CAP 87 (4)(b), defines a felony as “offence which is declared by law to be a felony or, if not declared to be a misdemeanour, is punishable, without proof of previous conviction, with death, or with imprisonment with hard labour for three years or more”.

We all know that M’membe and The Post’s case is a misdemeanour. And the law defines a misdemeanour as “any offence which is not a felony”.

To this effect we can deduce that a felony is heavier a charge than a misdemeanour. And if a heavier charge, in this case a felony is given the power by the law to just fine an erring corporation rather giving it a custodial sentence as CAP 87 (26) (3) says as quoted above, why then did the trailing Magistrate in the M’membe case slap a custodial sentence over a misdemeanour on M’membe’s second charge he is serving on behalf of The Post instead of fining The Post? Where does it leave our thoughts on, with the other charge M’membe was convicted on?

I have said it before, that those who relish on such convictions should know that steel bars do not make a person a prisoner, nor high concentrated Prison Walls make one a jail bird, for freedom comes from the heart and not from out of confinement. If the heart is free and not guilt of what a person is fighting for; no rehabilitation is taking place and no retribution is being achieved even when you throw him in jaws of incarceration. You are not even scaring so called would be offenders, but rather strengthen their urge.

M’membe and The Post have today remained forces to reckon with in the promotion of free press; and its this price they are paying just because the only crime they have committed is to promote and defend free press and the truth; and the truth does not always emerge unless someone digs it out, the course of which The Post has been sailing on.

Those who now have feasts of celebrations for M’membe’s conviction should know that journalists are born and not made. True ones like M’membe can be liked to the legend phoenix; burn it today, tomorrow it will resurface from its ashes and continue living; even more ardently than ever before.

And those who are born with the spirit of transformation and reformation for the nation, never live seeing things go to the dogs as they sit idly. As William Saidi says in his book Day of the Baboons, “practical people never leave conversations unfinished”, so has been The Post’s unwavering duty for this nation.

As M’membe said on Saturday’s editorial, the truth will surely triumph for it always does. It may not be today or tomorrow, but days are numbered. To us M’membe is not a convict but a purely prisoner of conscience, deemed a threat by those who call a spade a big spoon. He will ever remain our free press hero.

Copyright: June 7, 2010

Arrest Musonda the shooter

by mazuba mwiinga

This un-becoming behaviour of the MMD members taking the law in their vehicles and pistols is becoming so unbecoming and worrying.

A fortnight ago it was the bashing and killing of young boys in Mufumbwe by Mulondwe Muzungu’s son, just because he wasn’t happy with the results of the by election. And now it’s the Minister cocking his pistol and shooting at youths wilfully just because the youths demanded an explanation as to why he has failed them.

Is this, what has become of this tired and retarded MMD Party? That in their desperate move to cling to power at all costs; they now turn to innocent youths to vomit their frustrations and desperations on?

Dr. Solomon Musonda’s shooting spree shouldn’t be seen as a happenstance; neither was it a reflex action to provocation or an act of self defence. If what the eye witnesses’ recounts as reported by The Post are to go by, then what happened was a pure intentional act and the law should be given its legitimate chance to take its course.

Just as the law has no sacred cows in its realm of operation so should the Police too exercise its duty to do like wise. The law is clear and very straight forward. Dr. Musonda committed a crime and there is no need for the Police delaying his arrest on the pretext that he is being investigated. The boy who was shot at is there to show that he was shot at and the shooting is clearly linked to Dr. Musonda.

According to his statement Dr. Musonda claims that he was attacked, and “didn’t know what the intent of those people was because they blocked the road demanding for money from me (him),” What Dr. Musonda is telling us is that he shot at the youths as self defence. If these youths were such a danger to his life, why did he go back to pick the victim as he is quoted having said “…Right now I am rushing there with an ambulance to go and pick up the victim. …..”.

Whatever the case Dr. Musonda’s defence here lacks merit in law because according to the law of self defence, CAP 87 of the Laws, Section 17 says, “Subject to any other provisions of this Code or any other law for the time being in force, a person shall not be criminally responsible for the use of force in repelling an unlawful attack upon his person or property, or the person or property of any other person, if the means he uses and the degree of force he employs in doing so are no more than is necessary in the circumstances to repel the unlawful attack”.

This means that the defence of self defence he is trying to think us believe does not hold water because according to the High Court ruling in 1978 of Tembo Vs The People, self defence is “not available where the force used is out of proportion to the necessity of the situation and ought not to be employed where there is no threat of peril”.

This was a group of un armed youths, who were justifiably there to question him why he was using a road graded by an opposition Party when he was their MP and in government to do it. His action of shooting was so un necessary to his situation for he faced no threat of danger to his life at all.

Musonda the shooter should therefore be immediately arrested and avail his actions to be weighed before the balancing scales of the law.

Copyright: June 3, 2010