In an unprecedented barrage of bizzare demands and conditions, the PF Party are carrying out a ballistic onslaught on the UPND President’s Hakainde Hichilema’s visit to South Africa at the invitation of that Country’s main opposition DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
The Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has come out with guns blazing demanding that Mr Hichilema honours the Government that incarcerated him on trumped up charges because the Courts released him.
“Mr Hichilema’s ‘release’ from prison together with his co accused was a demonstration of Zambia’s entrenched rule of law and a ‘tested’ democracy”.
Mr Mwamba appeared to have been referring to the recent release of the UPND President after the State entered a Nolle, that ended a four month prison term without trial, over a traffic offence that strangely turned out to be treasonous.
A nolle prosequi is a legal instrument which State prosecutors exercise to discontinue a court case on account of lack of prosecutable evidence, and may resuscitate the charge if credible evidence is found later.
In such a prevailing scenario, the Courts don’t have much choice but to set the accused free.
Experts consequently view Mr Mwamba’s claim that the judiciary is free as a result of the Nolle by the State as flawed misguided, mischievous and one lacking merit.
Elias Munshya a Zambian lawyer based in Canada and a fierce critic of Edgar Lungu’s human rights record and dictatorship questioned Mr Mwamba’s theory of patriotism through citizens’ submissive silence of the wrongs of Government.
“It is the duty of every Zambian to speak well of their country, but it isn’t the duty of every Zambian to speak well of their Government or the ruling party. The ruling party used the machinery of the State to arrest Mr Hichilema who didnt commit treason and it had to take the Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland to tell your Government that Mr Hichilema’s arrest was illegal and inimical to the interest of this country, shame on this kind of leadership.”
Mr Munshya stated further, “If it has to take foreigners like Gen Olusugun Obasanjo to straighten the Zambian Government out, then Zambians will continue appealing to foreigners to intervene”.
The invitation of Hakainde by Mmusi Maimane seemed to have opened PF wounds of embarrassment that are still oozing as a result of a huge diplomatic gaffe that Emmanuel Mwamba caused during the SADC Conference which Mr Edgar Lungu attended in Pretoria two weeks ago.
The High Commissioner released a sensational communique in which he revealed that President Lungu had summoned the South African opposition leaders Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema of DA and EFF Parties respectively, for what appeared to be a tongue lashing “for interfering in Zambia’s internal affairs”.
DA’s Mmusi Maimane refused to meet Lungu demanding that he first apologises to Hichilema for incarcerating him without charge, while Julius Malema of the EFF said he could only meet the Zambian leader in a televised debate and not through a summon.
Meanwhile the Speaker of the South African Parliament Balete Mbete recognised the UPND leader who was invited to attend a question and answer session between President Zuma and South African parliamentarians.
“I wish to recognize the presence of the Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema who is in the House with us”, remarked a beaming Ms Mbete as MPs applauded a smiling Hichilema.
The South African DA opposition leader Mmusi Maimane who hosted Mr Hichilema asked President Zuma a question many observers viewed as symbolic and for the record, as to what the South African Government’s stand was on the human rights abuses going in Zambia.
Mr Zuma predictably explained the South African SADC position of not interfering in member state’s internal affairs “unless the situation took external dimensions”.
Many viewed this as a hint by Zuma that his country would only intervene if there was degeneration that would lead to civil war that would spill outside the borders of an affeted member state.
There’s increased criticism and pressure by human rights activists on the AU to change the policy of ‘wait and see and act’ to proaction that has been adopted by West African Nations through ECOWAS.
The ECOWAS hardline stance has kept many member states in check on human rights abuses committed by dictators and repressive regimes in West Africa which many Africans are hoping would extend to the rest of the continent.