Nevers, Siliya inconsistent

Dora Siliya

WE UNDERSTAND the euphoria in the MMD camp following the Lusaka High Court’s order that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) accepts nomination papers for former MMD Petauke Central memner of Parliament Dora Siliya and two other parliamentarians for them to re-contest their nullified seats.
The ECZ had barred Ms Siliya, former Malambo and Mulobezi MPs Maxwell Mwale and Hastings Sililo, respectively, following a statement issued by the judiciary.
The judiciary had said that those whose elections had been nullified on account of corruption by courts of law were not eligible to re-contest the same seats.
However, in her ruling High Court judge Mungeni Mulenga said the ECZ had erred by barring the three from filing their nomination papers.
Ms Justice Mulenga said the fact that the High Court had nullified an election based on corruption does not does not constitute a guilty report.
She also explained that the nullification of the seats did not mean that the candidates had been convicted of corruption.
Ms Mulenga also said the decision by the ECZ to bar Ms Siliya, Mr Mwale and Mr Sililo from filing their nomination papers based on a press statement from the judiciary was erroneous because the statement lacked legal basis.
Those who have been closely following this saga must have learned a lot of lessons from the submissions and the subsequent decision of the High Court.
There have been various reactions from different sections of the Zambian society.
Equally, there have been all kinds of interpretations by genuine and pseudo lawyers according to which side they support.
But what is surprising is the U-turn by MMD president Nevers Mumba and Ms Siliya, who are now showering the judiciary with praise, describing the courts as impartial.
We are happy that the two leaders and others in the opposition are now seeing the impartiality of our country’s judiciary.
But we are tempted to ask the question why are they praising the institution only now that the High Court has ruled in their favour?
Are these not the same leaders who publicly denounced the courts as biased against the opposition?
Zambians have not forgotten how Dr Mumba and Ms Siliya accused the Patriotic Front (PF) of using courts to persecute the opposition.
This was after the Supreme Court nullified Ms Siliya’s seat.
In politics, consistency is important, and any leader who ignores this virtue risks losing credibility in the eyes of the public.
Condemning the judiciary when an opposition politician loses a case and praising it when the win is not consistency.
Politicians, especially those occupying senior positions in political parties, must lead by example. They must exhibit humility, principle and consistency if they are to win the respect of voters.
The judiciary should not just be seen to be impartial when its decision is in favour of one of the parties to a case. Dr Mumba is vowing to make sure Ms Siliya re-contests her seat.
His ire comes in the wake of the announcement by the State that it intends to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision.
But if the judiciary is impartial as Dr Mumba and Ms Siliya have claimed, why is he scared of an appeal?
We expected them to even encourage the State to go ahead and appeal as it has intimated to confirm the judiciary’s impartiality.
There is no need for the MMD to panic over the appeal.
Meanwhile, an average observer must be wondering what kind of leaders Dr Mumba and Ms Siliya are who always want to be the winners.