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 2010-04-10 01:29 pm Back to NEWS
Stop this anarchy by William Banda

THE rule of law is the foundation upon which every civilised nation is supposed to be built.

There can be no peaceful co-existence amongst the various interest groups that are represented in a nation without clear rules and regulations upon which that co-existence is based.

The rules that govern our belonging to a nation must be clear, unambiguous and capable of equal application to every citizen.

Anarchy is the likely result of a situation where the rule of law is undermined and laws and regulations meant to govern our relations are applied inequitably.

Democracy by its very definition requires that the players in it are subject to the same laws, enjoying similar rights and responsibilities. In other words, equality before the law is the cornerstone upon which democracy is built.

Rupiah Banda and his government claim to believe in the rule of law. But judging them by their actions, one has difficulties in believing that they mean what they say. It is very clear to any keen observer that Rupiah has bullied all those who work around him into silence and unquestioning conformity. Anyone who dares express a view that is not acceptable to Rupiah is dealt with firmly.

This is what explains why most of his Cabinet ministers are sheepishly trying to keep their jobs by being silent. No one dare say anything that will make the emperor unhappy. Rupiah's ministers have defined a new rule of law for themselves. It is clear that Rupiah's wishes are the law it does not matter what the law says, what matters is what Rupiah wants. There is no dignity in serving Rupiah's government. Anyone not prepared to be a minion has no place in Rupiah's government.

Not too long ago, we saw a minister comparing himself to a dog in an apparent attempt to illustrate his undying loyalty to Rupiah. The uncomfortable parallel that his illustration created was nothing to him. But this did not surprise us nor should it surprise anyone. At that time, the minister involved was responding to a public attack levelled against Cabinet ministers in Rupiah's government by MMD Lusaka Province chairman William Banda. This unelected party cadre had the audacity to dress down ministers for what he called their lack of loyalty to Rupiah publicly. One would have expected that a minister who has his personal dignity to protect would have protested the nonsense of William Banda's attack. But that was not the case. Community development minister Michael Kaingu decided to debase himself completely by comparing his loyalty to that of a dog to its master in an effort to please Rupiah.

It is clear that Mr Kaingu's reaction to William Banda's insulting belittling of ministers had nothing to do with the respect that he has for William Banda, it had everything to do with his fear for Rupiah. We say this because if Mr Kaingu criticised William Banda, it would have been taken that he was criticising Rupiah himself. This is so because they all knew that William Banda was not speaking based on his own authority, he was speaking under the protection and auspices of Rupiah. In other words, William Banda is a mouthpiece for Rupiah meant to sow fear in Rupiah's opponents and those considering the possibility of holding views different to what Rupiah holds. It seems William Banda is Rupiah's chosen enforcer of 'party discipline'. William Banda has the necessary history and experience gained in the one party state to do this kind of job.

It now appears that there is no limit to the powers that William Banda can exercise. No minister or MMD party functionary seems prepared to cross swords with this man however ridiculous his actions are. The only reason for this must be that William Banda is Rupiah's mouthpiece.

It seems that Rupiah and William have forgotten that the one party state died 19 years ago. The people of this country decided that they wanted a new order.

They chose a multiparty system of democracy. This meant that they did not accept the vigilante politics that had come to characterise the one party system. The kind of hegemony that people like William Banda enjoyed is gone forever. They might think that they can repeat the same tactics of intimidation and abuse that they once enjoyed but they need to know that this will not work.

Our people are decided and clear about the type of governance that they want.

The menace that William Banda wields is also demonstrated by the shameful reaction by the minister of lands Gladys Lundwe. Lundwe has decided to defend William Banda's extra-judicial 'law enforcement' activities in a Lusaka land dispute.

This newspaper has reported the activities of William Banda and some other MMD cadres who have violently harassed Ng'ombe township displaced residents.

Instead of condemning the activities of William Banda, Lundwe decided to tell the nation through this newspaper that William Banda was working with her ministry for simple reasons. "You know, it has been very big talk in this country that MMD cadres are illegally allocating land yet they could not be the ones doing that. This is why you have seen that Mr William Banda and other people have taken it upon themselves to prove to the nation that these people who are doing that are not MMD cadres and this is why you have seen that they have created a task force going round Lusaka to arrest people to help the police actually who must not have been doing it."

What kind of nonsense is this? What power does William Banda have to start arresting people? How can a minister sink so low as to condone such lawlessness? If all of us decided to start going around harassing people we suspect are doing wrong, what is going to happen? Isn't this a recipe for anarchy and lawlessness? Why should it take MMD cadres to arrest people who are illegally allocating land? Do we not have state functionaries who are supposed to perform these duties?

It is clear that Lundwe is scared of criticising William Banda because she knows that he is well backed. Like Mr Kaingu, Lundwe has given in to a nonsensical position. How can a minister suggest that private citizens have formed a task force to arrest those giving plots illegally? How was this task force created? Isn't this the creation of a private militia meant to harass poor people who cannot run to the police because the people behind this militia are government agents? This kind of abuse of power that Rupiah is tolerating is too dangerous for our country and should stop. It is wrong for people to believe that anything done by the MMD is correct. Although the MMD is the party in power, it is a party just like any other party and should respect state institutions and state authority. What Lundwe is defending is indefensible.

Rupiah should stop this anarchy or else this William Banda will cause him more problems than he can imagine.

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