By Prof. Michelo Hansungule
This week’s dreadful step by Parliament to invoke article 31 (2) of the constitution is an evil decision only meant to punish one man – Hakainde Hichilema.
Revelation by Home Affair Minister Kapyongo that with the powers of the threatened state of emergency, president Edgar Lungu will now overrule courts on where Hakainde will be held confirms that this was Edgar’s only reason for resorting to this draconian measure. The emergency has nothing to do with market fires as previously stated, its just for Edgar to revenge on HH and get him delivered to him to punish as his appetite drives him to.
Anyone who understands Edgar Lungu’s mentality will confirm that this is Edgar’s character. All he wants is power – to have all power to do as he likes on anyone in this case particularly on HH. Those court orders ordering prison officials where to hold HH were a problem to Edgar. Who are judges to tell the president what to do? Edgar cannot stand this. He cannot stand HH, he cannot stand Fred Mmembe, he cannot stand the Post Newspaper, he cannot the Catholic Church, he cannot stand any form of dissent. His followers everywhere are ready to tear the pages of the law to uphold his dictatorship. Sometimes with plain lies that he is the most humble leader to have come out of Zambia yet they know nothing about him. In the picture below, as if the book cover is the law, his spin doctor convinced him it will endear him to the Zambian people being seen with a green copy of the Laws of Zambia as he announces declaration of the threatened state of emergency. Yet, it is all lies, plain lies. Edgar is none of what he is being projected to be.
Human rights are God-given Tomorrow, as today Saturday, millions of people will trek to their different churches to praise the Lord. Some of those will just have sinned, others are sinners by character yet others will go to pray for the sins they will commit on others after their prayers. God the Almighty is all loving. I have sometimes wondered why can’t God punish sinners, punish them now? Why should sinners be allowed to pray and then walk the streets with their sins on their shoulders?
One of the greatest sins a person can commit is to violate another’s human or what were previously called natural rights. It is a sin to abuse the rights of another human being using power. Though he obviously was not given fair trial, Jesus, nevertheless, was subjected to a modicum of trial. From the time Jesus was arrested as recounted in Mark 14 Verse 43, he was brought before the Sanhedrin and the High Priest who purportedly held a preliminary inquiry to establish his guilty. Even this preliminary mock trial, however, realized they had no jurisdiction to try him because the offences he stood charged with were beyond them hence they took him to Pontius Pilate with powers to try capital punishment. Unfair as this was, it nevertheless showed even the Sanhedrin tried to follow both substantive and procedural law. Most world civilizations and religions generally agree that human rights including liberty, life, the right to be heard before a court of law and other rights come from God. In his Pacem in terries, Pope John XX111 said: Every person has the right to life, to bodily integrity and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, medical care and finally the necessary services’.
Similarly, in their 1968 letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States affirmed that in accordance with the Teachings of Bahaullah, human rights are God=given rights’.
Bahai’s go on to say ‘the Prophets of God have stressed the unique character of man’s individuality and of his right to live a fruitful life. They continue: ‘human rights are not exclusive of the few, to be parceled out at the legislative discretion of human institutions. They aver; ‘We believe rather that human rights are God-given and hence inviolable………any act which discriminates against or otherwise restricts the human rights of any person demeans the dignity of the individuals involved and is contrary to the Teachings of God’. Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes human rights as “God-given, simply and solely because we are human beings”. He further notes that: they were universal – due to everyone, just everyone whoever they might be, whether rich or poor, learned or ignorant, beautiful or ugly, black or white, man or woman, by the fact of being a human being had these rights. …. As a Christian, he continues, I would add that each person was of infinite value because everyone had been created in the image of God. Each one was a God carrier and to treat any such person as if they were less than this was blasphemous, a spitting in the face of God’.
Further elaborating on this theme, former Alabama Chief Justice Ray More has argued that ‘our rights come from God, which means government can’t take them away’. Act with fairness to fellow citizens.
What comes out quite clearly from this is that rights such as the right of a person to not have his or her liberty taken away without reasonable cause is guaranteed both in the eyes of God and in human made law. This means that, however powerful they may be, those who for the time being exercise government power must do so consistent with the human rights of affected citizens. In Exodus, 23:6 it is said that ‘you shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit’. And in Colossians 4:1 enjoins Masters as follows ‘treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven’. On the art of judging, society is eloquently enjoined in Leviticus 19:15 with the following ‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly’
President Edgar Lungu might be the most powerful man in Zambia at the moment for he controls the army, airforce, intelligence, police, parliament, judiciary, chiefs, civil service, economy, and virtually everything dead, alive and all those yet unborn in the country, however, he cannot overrule God. It is equivalent to overruling God the grantor of the rights for the president to infringe on the God-given rights of citizens even if using a state of emergency. It is unprecedented for the president in a democracy to overrule courts and to literary hold subjects in jail at his personal discretion regardless of court orders and elementary law on fairness.
If in heaven, God will uphold this blatant violation of human rights of political opponents and citizens as we have become used to in Zambia; if I will see police who barbitrarily smoke others from their houses even if without warrants and not resisting arrest are celebrated in heaven with well done, hallejah; if those who kill others in cold blood merely for campaigning for their political parties, wearing opposition political party regalia; if God will feast and celebrate those who hate others for their tribes; if the Catholic Church in Zambia will be rebuked in heaven for the work they are trying to do to broaden spaces for tolerance; if in heaven the media will be banned the second time for informing citizens and enabling them effectively participate in governance; if dictatorship will be enacted law in heaven, parliament and the judiciary be made part of the executive controlled by the president and his ruling party, then I will return back to earth, I promise.