Stop this anarchy by William Banda
THE rule of law is the
foundation upon which every civilised nation is supposed to be
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
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
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.
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
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.
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