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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Sata's sensible suggestion...

The Leader of the Opposition, Michael Sata has made a very sensible suggestion on how to handle the current uncertainty surrounding the President:

"...You know the speculations which are coming were presented by two senior government leaders, the Vice-President and defence minister George Mpombo when they had prayers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, when the Vice-President who is supposed to show leadership and the minister who is also supposed to show leadership started sobbing, weeping in public. What do you expect us who are very remote and don't know what is going on to think?....I think this Cabinet should show leadership by revoking a constitutional requirement and when they revoke a constitutional requirement, they should sit as Cabinet and request the Chief Justice to constitute a medical board. And that medical board should go to Paris and give us an independent situation as it is happening..."
The government appears to have lost significant credibility in the eyes of many Zambians by the poor updates that they have been giving, which in some respect simply insults the intelligence of many observers. Daily messages that repeats the "stability" clause are not helpful. As many have noted, there are many simple facts the government can present without intruding on "privacy". Simple questions should be asked and addressed. For example, is the President in a coma? What are the chances of survival? Basic questions that any person asks on the bed side. I have found the whole situation quite ironic. The President has been a champion of transparency (atleast relative to previous leaders), now the people around him appear to conceal information in the name of protecting his privacy. It would be most unfortunate if this is the abiding memory of the Mwanawasa administration that becomes engraved on the minds of ordinary Zambians. A group of ministers, who having been left without a leader, seemed to abandon moral restraint. At the very time when the nation demanded honesty and transparency, they hid the truth, and put their personal agendas ahead of protecting the integrity of the sitting President and the rule of law, in the process losing their long grip on power.


  1. Though the comment is sensible it is ill timed. I think that there are step by step processes in invoking the constitutional requirement of constituting a medical board. Mr Hakainde Hichilema and Dr. Kaunda are on point.

  2. Would you care to explain what those "step by step processes" are ?

    Give us the chapter and verse from the constitution..

    It strikes me the constitution is unclear on WHEN the medical board should be constituted...its up to the Cabinet to decide...

    So I don't see how you can call ANY TIME "ill timed".

    This is not an issue of process, but of judgement...

    And as I argue in the blog "Why Rupiah must wait", the incentives are always with the Cabinet waiting. Precisely because of the absense of those "processes"

    If it was upto the Cabinet they would wait forever. Only presure from the Opposition or an internal MMD implosion will move them towards even considering Article 36.

    HH and Kaunda would be correct if the level of information were receiving was detailed enough. At the moment that is not the case. The government has two choices :

    1. Provide more detail
    2. Invoke Article 36

    At the moment they are doing neither. I regard that as misleading the people...and a damage to their credibility to govern.


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