By David Kapoma
I came across a saying “The Mark of a great leader is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the Vital ones”
During his National address to the nation in parliament, President Lungu stated that Zambia had no money for holding of the referendum on the Bill of Rights. This is a position I disagree and indeed agree to what LAZ president said on the Hot Seat program yesterday that a lot of stake holders are willing to fund the referendum on the Bill of Rights. But then even if that was not true, how has government managed to find K2 million within two (2)days to hold consultative meetings on whether Zambia should leave the ICC or stay?
Firstly before we even debate more on this matter it is a fact that circa 10% of Zambians or less know what the ICC is and what it’s jurisdictions are. Here is what the ICC is;
The International Criminal Court (“the ICC” or “the Court”) is a permanent international court established to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Given that definition, it maybe important to answer whether the ICC really affects the lives of most Zambians at this very point or not.
The idea for us as a country to start debating this motion is because some African countries have shown displeasure in the ICC with Gambia being the latest country to have left the ICC late last year. The argument by most African countries is that MOST countries considered to be super powers in the world are not members of the ICC. Some countries that do not belong to the ICC include China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Q
With that background given now let me get back to the question “Where has the K2 million come from? This money has been found in a record shortest time possible. This is happening at a time when retirees are still not paid and continue camping at the gates of state house everyday hoping they can see the president. Unfortunately for them they actually position themselves at a gate President Lungu will potentially never use.
How does leaving the ICC or even staying in the ICC affect or improve the lives of those people in Chawama, Chibolya, Magoye, Chibuluma Township, Dambwa in Livingstone and indeed my good friends the homeless children on the streets? Is the PF telling us that really this was such an emergency which needed this kind of money at a time when our country is surviving on borrowed funds?
As far as I know 80% of this money will be spent on allowances for the officers belonging to the ministry that will embark on this exercise. So in actual sense it is a money making venture for ‘some of us’. We can’t allow a country to have such kind or priority setting. It is bizarre that the government has decided to make the issue of ICC as priority. I can argue that if this was not a money making venture can government hold a consultative process without extra expenditure. For example asking the line ministries in various districts to conduct this process at the council community halls without officers having to travel around making themselves even richer.
In conclusion, I wish to remind the Patriotic Front (PF) government that concentrating on the referendum on the Bill of Right would make more sense than thinking about the ICC. Pay attention to improving the lives of the people who sung ‘Sontapo’ with you and gave you a mandate to rule them. This kind of actions show poor planning in the part of government. You have failed to find Money for Student Loans, you have placed a wage freeze on civil servants, you have told us you have no money for the referendum on the Bill of rights, the people who voted for you are complaining that the cost of living is very high. But it takes you two (2) days to find Money for the alien ICC.
Your days are numbered, use the open windows to throw your souls to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set and you will go down with it.
Go’s bless Zambia.
By David Kapoma
Zambian Eye (Zambia)