Where will all this end?
It’s like watching a wild west movie! That’s how a friend of ours described what’s going on in Zambia today. There’s total lawlessness in the country. But the saddest thing is that the lawlessness is coming from those in control of the state apparatus. In a word, it is the state that has become lawless.
But we were forewarned about this lawlessness when the other year Edgar Lungu told the nation he was in control of the state machinery and there is no way Dr Fred M’membe can win a fight against him, alefwayafe ukwakufwila.
That’s what Edgar has reduced the role of the state to – a tool for crushing like a tonne of bricks citizens who don’t agree with him, who question or oppose his decisions or actions.
And indeed Edgar has used, or rather abused, all state institutions – the Zambia Revenue Authority, the police, the courts and the entire judicial process – in an attempt to crush Dr M’membe.
It is not difficult to see that the police has been working with the Zambia Revenue Authority to close The Post and ensure that it never reopens. When The Post obtained an order from the Tax Appeals Tribunal ordering the Zambia Revenue Authority to reopen the newspaper and hand back the assets it had seized, it was the police on the orders of State House who stopped the enforcement of that order. And those trying to enforce a lawful order were arrested and detained on accusations of having forged a Tax Appeals Tribunal order. What came out of that case? Nothing. They abandoned it. It was simply a case of lawlessness.
Contempt proceedings were commenced against the Zambia Revenue Authority officers who were responsible for that lawlessness. What came out of it? Impunity. Contempt of court is not for them; it is a tool for use against their opponents, those they don’t like, those they are fighting.
It’s clear that the courts are for their use. Their agents are using the courts and the entire judiciary process in any way they want. Their applications are granted ex-parte while for their victims, they are denied and are told to have them inter partes, which are never heard because they are often rendered academic.
Everyone seems to fear them. Cops can’t disobey their orders. Even their agents without state positions are in command of police officers, judges, magistrates and other officers of state agencies. Hence the saying boma ni boma.
But where will all this end? Seeds for revolutionary measures are being planted. This lawlessness will not last forever. This shameless simple domination of the sabre and the cowl will not last forever. Everything seems to be so easy for them to do or get. But easy come, easy go.
Abuses of this nature can sometimes really be very easy to carry out, swiftly from success to success; their dramatic effects often outdo each other; people and things seem set in sparkling brilliants; ecstasy is the everyday spirit; but they are very short-lived; soon they have attained their zenith, and a long crapulent depression lays hold of society before it learns soberly to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period.
But how many will have to answer for their accomplice role in the judiciary, the police and other state agencies?
This lawlessness and total disregard for the country’s justice system is getting to dangerous levels. We are really totally and fast becoming a lawless country.