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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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CHIZUMA ISNT ABOVE THE LAW: LET LEGALITY AND CONSTUTIONALISM PREVAIL

Opinion by James Kayuni, student of law at University of Nairobi in Kenya.

There is, of course, something questionable about Redson Munlo and the team holding vigils at Parliament to force President Lazarus Chakwera to fire ACB head Martha Chizuma for allegedly breaking the oath of office she swore to protect.

In fact, even those questioning where Munlo and team are getting funds have a point and they deserve to be given an ear.

However, there is a larger issue at play here, something more critical than dwelling on who is funding Munlo and team.

Whatever we may wish to condemn these guys, let’s not be deluded to entirely trash off the message these guys carry, the message of the need for the country not to look away when our public leaders stifle the spirit of legality and constitutionalism–which are cornerstones of our liberal democracy.

At the heart of the matter here, which is more superior than anything else, is the need to protect and upheld the law that governs the operation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

If we allow any occupier of the ACB high office to be operating as they wish, choosing to break the laws and get away with it unchecked and unpunished, I shudder to think of the chaos we are creating, something which will haunt us one day.

Chizuma took oath of her office to operate within the set legal and Constitutional limits as spelled. If that oath is broken, as it has been the case with the case of that leaked audio, we need to protect the office of ACB, not Chizuma.

Just as every person, she must face the processes that governs the disciplinary and censure structures that comes with what she has broken.

As a country, we should strongly embrace the spirit of protecting and strengthening  our government agencies not temporal people who occupy the offices.

If we haven’t forgotten, we may end up watering down activities of ACB just as we watered down Section 65, during the Bingu Wa Mutharika.

John Tembo, then leader of opposition, constantly reminded us that, yes, we need the budget, but we should not demand it at the expense of protecting people who are defying Section 65. Well, we though Tembo was being bitter with Bingu. Today, here we are: a strong law aimed at curbing political prostitution in Parliament is just a another bluff, weak and powerless.

This is why, people such as Munlo, no matter what we think of them, we need to listen to them and support their cause of defending the spirit of legality and constitutionalism.

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