What wrong has Kasonde, LAZ done?
What type of society does the Patriotic Front want to bequeath the Zambian people?
We ask this question in the light of the party’s attacks on Linda Kasonde and the Law Association of Zambia. It seems the Patriotic Front of Edgar Lungu will not tolerate any individual or organisation that does not praise it and defend its corruption, abuses and other heinous deeds. They all have to be silenced and “crushed like a tonne of bricks”. Every individual and organisation must support them, ignore their misdeeds and sing their praises or risk facing their wrath, brutality, humiliation, insults and defamation.
It is clear that their talk of a one party preference was no joke; they meant it – they want a one party state, de facto or de jure, in Zambia. They don’t want a multiparty political dispensation or a plural society. To them, Zambia must only have one party, one leader and that leader must be Edgar. But is this possible in today’s Zambia, world? They believe it can be achieved by amassing the highest possible levels of wealth through corruption and being able to buy off everyone, everything or anything, including elections and power.
They also seem to believe that anyone trying to stand in their way can be crushed like “a tonne of bricks”. And they seem to believe that with all the state institutions – the police, judiciary, intelligence – under their control, they can do anything they want and get any outcome they want.
Their attacks on Linda and the Law Association of Zambia are aimed at nothing but silencing a credible voice. The Law Association of Zambia cannot even be said to be anywhere near an opposition voice to them. In many respects, the Law Association of Zambia has spared them a lot of criticism, has been timid.
They are making attempts to fragment the Law Association of Zambia and weaken it. They want to have more than one law association in a country with less than a thousand lawyers! When it comes to politics, their desire is that there should only be one party, but lawyers should have multi-associations!
But to govern well, more voices are needed on every policy and action. Power must be shared and not monopolised. This helps to cleanse their policies of vices, weaknesses. Those who govern also need to be accountable not only to themselves but to others as well.
Participation in the affairs of one’s own country cannot be only through political parties and voting in elections. In a democracy, political parties and politicians are not the only players. A myriad of civil society organisations and individuals also need to have their input in what is being done.
And moreover, the Law Association of Zambia is a creation of the law, of Parliament. Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia establishes the Law Association of Zambia. And Section 4 of that Act gives the Law Association of Zambia its functions, objects:
(a) to further the development of law as an instrument of social order and social justice and as an essential element in the growth of society;
(b) to provide a means by which all lawyers, whatever their particular field of activity, can participate together fully and effectively in the development of society and its institutions;
(c) to encourage lawyers, as individuals, to join actively in the life of, and identify themselves with, the people, and to utilise their skills and training in their service;
(d) to promote the education of lawyers at all stages and levels, with particular emphasis on the broadening of such education;
(e) to consider the qualifications of lawyers and to make recommendations to the Government thereon;
(f) to maintain and improve the standards of conduct of all members of the legal profession;
(g) to consider the legislation relating to legal aid and other ways of securing representation for persons who for any reason are unable to secure it, and to make recommendations to the Government thereon; and to establish machinery for the provision of legal aid in addition to that provided by the Government;
(h) to co-operate with the representative bodies of other professions and other institutions;
(i) to promote research in the development of the law in general and
particularly in relation to –
(i) the applicability and suitability of received law;
(ii) the character and content of customary law;
(iii) the influence of industrial, commercial and technological development on society and social institutions;
(j) to promote the reform of the law, both by the amendment of and the removal of imperfections in existing law, and by the re-formulation, codification or restatement of particular branches of the law;
(k) to participate when called upon in draft legislation, and to strengthen the machinery for the critical examination of its legal quality;
(l) to seek the advancement of the rule of law and of the rights and liberties of the individual;
(m) to promote the improvement and reform of the judicial and administrative systems, including tribunals and their procedure;
(n) to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in regard to their conditions of practice, remuneration and otherwise;
(o) to protect and assist the public in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the legal profession;
(p) to do all such other things as may be conducive to the attainment of the foregoing objects or any of them.
In which way has Linda and the Law Association of Zambia violated these objects or failed to advance them? What is it that they have done that falls outside these objects? We make a clarion call to all Zambians of goodwill to join the Zambia Medical Association in defending the Law Association of Zambia’s right to be what it was created by law to be; “it cannot be made to change its ways by sticks and stones because you fight ideas with better ideas”.
Let’s all respond favourably to the medical doctors’ call on all professional bodies, political parties and all peace loving Zambians to come out and condemn the attack on the Law Association of Zambia. As the Zambia Medical Association warns, “Today it is the Law Association of Zambia, tomorrow it could be any one of our professional bodies.” And we add: “The bells tolling on Linda and the Law Association of Zambia, if not silenced, will tomorrow toll on the whole nation.”