The Secretary General. Patriotic Front
RE: DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
RECENT press statements attributed to you in which you are alleged to have stated that I had received fair treatment during the period that I was facing your accusations has forced me to break my silence on this matter.
From the outset let me make it clear that my remaining silent ever since the start of the period when I was humiliated arising from your accusations has not been weakness on my part. It should also not be misconstrued to mean admission of guilt. My silence was motivated by the fact that it had become clear from the start of the whole episode that I was a victim of a well-orchestrated scheme to hound me out of the party. Even if many allegations against me including your own letter charging me were through the media, I refused to respond through the press or any public forum. I did this in the interest of the Party as I did not want to fall in the trap of bringing the Party and its leadership into public odium and disrepute. I chose not to tear apart the Party for which so many of us invested immensely into bringing in Government. I preferred to face my adversities quietly for the sake of the Party and the nation. The interests of the Party and its Government and the unity thereof have been and shall continue to be more paramount to me than my parochial personal and individual interests. As you know I served as a loyal Member of Parliament for Kabwata in the opposition for 10 years without at any one time trading my principles, the interests of my Party and the people at large for the sake of personal aggrandizement. In similar manner even over these challenges I did not allow my personal interests to override the good of the Party. Subjecting a ruling party to public discordance and creating imaginary or real internal strife within it is not only inimical to its integrity but it is equally an affront to the interests of the nation. A Party divided against itself cannot be expected to foster national harmony and to attract the citizen confidence and support that is a precursor to people-centered development.
Had it not been for the statement you made in which you, my principle accuser made yourself the judge of the disciplinary procedure that I underwent and declared it fair, I could have continued to face you in silence. However, so that you do not grant yourself the unchallenged roles of judge and jury and for the sake of ensuring that the record is put right, I have been compelled to write to you. I have decided to copy this letter to His Excellency the President and the National Chairperson because I have every reason to believe that you as Secretary General may have only told them what you wanted them to hear which need not have been the truth.
It has been 310 odd days since you in your capacity of Secretary General of the Party leveled allegations against me through your letter dated 10th December, 2012 which you gave to the press even before I received it. You wrote the letter on the day when I had left to Equatorial Guinea where I had been assigned to go and represent His Excellency at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the ACP/EU. While I was still in the air, before I landed in Malabo your letter which you marked ‘confidential’ and in which you accused me (a serving Minister of Foreign Affairs while on national assignment abroad) of treachery had already been widely publicized in both the print and the electronic media nationally and internationally. Notwithstanding the fact that you were aware that I would be away from the country for more than ten days, you demanded to receive a response from me within seven days!*
In your letter you stated that you had received adverse reports against me from members of the Patriotic Front including Members of Parliament regarding acts of disloyalty to the ideals of the Party. You stated that I was ‘collaborating with some members of the opposition in the MMD and the UPND with the intention of discrediting the Party’s decisions and policies’ and that I ‘was responsible for planting some of the adverse articles in the Daily Nation Newspaper against the Party and its leadership’.
After I responded to the above quoted letter and refuted the allegations contained there-in, on 19th December 2012, just one day after my return from abroad, you wrote yet another letter to me in which you presented two new allegations namely that I had informed cabinet meeting of Monday, 10th December 2012 that I ‘had personally informed the Ambassador of a named Country about the position of the Party and also the government to refuse the proposed waiver of our domestic pieces of legislation on the project’ (a project which the named country was to fund in Zambia)* and ‘Disconnectivity with the Party in Kabwata Constituency’.
On 21st December 2012,1 responded to your second letter and categorically denied both allegations contained therein.
In the meantime some cadres were up and about, with your blessings (which were expressed in the print and electronic media), calling for my resignation on all sorts of wild accusations. Some went as far as accusing me of awarding government contracts to my friends to supply furniture to Zambian embassies abroad. Others alleged that I had squandered Party money which allegedly came to me when I was Chairman of the Livingstone Parliament Constituency bye elections. You knew well that I had not received any money from yourself or the Treasurer for the bye election in Livingstone. Sadly the person who received massive publicity over his allegations against me is himself facing Police charges of obtaining money on false pretense.
On 5th January, 2013, the Disciplinary Committee interviewed me on all sorts of allegations which they had not communicated to me beforehand contrary to the Party Constitution Regulation 100 which states:
“Any disciplinary proceedings instituted against a member shall be instituted and determined as herein provided:
(I) Whenever a Disciplinary Committee institutes disciplinary proceedings against a member, it shall deliver to the accused member a written statement setting out particulars of the charges and of the grounds upon which such disciplinary proceedings are instituted together with a notice requiring the accused member to submit to the disciplinary Committee within such a period being not less than seven days, as the disciplinary Committee shall specify, an exculpatory statement in writing of the grounds on which the accused member relies to exculpate himself.
The charges before me were only the ones from you as Secretary General and not from the Disciplinary Committee as is required by the Constitution.
I was interviewed on all manner of issues including some weird matters such as: about some appointments of named people into the foreign service: about my opinion on the performance of some diplomats having connections with named Ministers including yourself and Mrs. Sylvia Masebo: about statements I was supposed to have uttered against the Head of State to some Zambian diplomats serving in our Mission in Addis Ababa: about my personal relations with individuals in the party including yourself: about why I had allegedly lost popularity in the constituency so soon after having recorded a resounding election victory a few months earlier etc. One of the members of the Disciplinary Committee even went to the extent of suggesting to me that I should admit that being human there could have been something I had done wrong and had forgotten about and therefore I should seek forgiveness from the Party!
The Disciplinary Committee during the interview handed me two documents. One was a letter allegedly written on 20th December 2012 by Daniel Chisenga in his capacity as Mayor of Lusaka in which he made blatant, damaging and highly challengeable allegations against me. The second was a report which had been delivered through your Office as Minister of Justice also on 20th December, 2013. The report is allegedly authored by Sensio Banda in which he reported that a Mr. Felix Mutale had informed him that he (Mutale) had a meeting at an unknown place with Mr. Davis Chama and myself where “Mr. Davis Chama and Given Lubinda raised the need to fight the Party SG within the Party and that leaving the party was not an option. The reasons the said meeting advanced for the fight were as follows: i) The SG was trying creating (sic) party membership and structure loyalty around himself instead of the party, ii) The SG has marginalized party members and leaders whom he thinks are not loyal to him and instead of the party Hi) The SG had back peddled on the commitment which he made not to take government ministry position… “.
What is peculiar about this letter is that it bears an official date stamp of the Honourable Minister’s Office in the Ministry of Justice and was stamped the very day of that Daniel Chisenga wrote his accusation against me namely 20th December, 2012.
Regulation 100 (5) states that:
“The Disciplinary Committee will ensure that no documentary evidence shall be used against the accused member unless he has previously been supplied with a copy thereof or thereto “
Against this regulation, the Disciplinary Committee went ahead and questioned me based on the contents of these documents which were obviously irregularly brought before me.
As if this was not enough contravention of the Disciplinary Procedures of the Party as enshrined in its Constitution, no witnesses were brought to adduce evidence against me. The Party members including Members of Parliament whom you claimed had presented adverse reports against me turned out to be only Mrs. Sylvia Masebo. Not a single member of the opposition MMD or UPND with whom you accused me of ‘collaborating with the intention of discrediting the Party’s decisions and policies’ was presented to adduce any evidence. Not one article from the Daily Nation Newspaper or any other media was produced to prove your allegation that I ‘was responsible for planting some of the adverse articles in the Daily Nation Newspaper against the Party and its leadership’.
I was told by the Committee Chairman that the only carrier of evidence against me for all these allegations was Mrs. Masebo. I was informed by the Disciplinary Committee Chairman that Mrs. Sylvia Masebo was the only witness against me and that she had been so passionately angry with me during her submission to the Committee.
Contrary to Regulation 100 (4) of the Party Constitution which states that: “At the hearing, the Disciplinary Committee will ensure that if a witness/es are examined by the Committee, the accused member shall be given an opportunity of putting questions on his own behalf to the witnesses “the star witness who was said to have been passionately angry with me was not presented for cross examination by myself. She was allowed to present evidence unchallenged. Her evidence, for all intents and purposes could have been driven by malice, open hatred and ulterior motives.
At the end of the interview I was convinced that a hearing in accordance with the laid down procedures of the Party would be convened in due course. Little did I know that this was to be the final hearing.
To my surprise the Post Newspaper of the following day, the 6th January 2013 carried a Headline story which stated that I had been found guilty.
Having regard to the fact that the Party’s constitution provides as its Philosophy the following; “guided by humbleness and self-criticism’ and considering that the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee is himself a learned Lawyer who is familiar not only with the provisions of the Party Constitution, but indeed the very tenets of Justice and the law of natural justice, and because I resisted to be swayed by press reports. I took it that the due disciplinary procedures of the Party would not only be followed but be made to be seen to be followed. 1 dismissed the story of my being found guilty.
The next I heard of the matter was again through the third hand information of the press. This time the information was that I had been suspended from the party.
Recognising the fact that ours is a Ruling Party from which is expected the highest level of orderliness and given the fact the Secretary General of the Party who is “the Chief administrative officer of the Party responsible for supervision, coordination and efficient administration of the day to day activities of the Party;’ (Article 56 (a) of the Constitution) is not an ordinary lawyer but a State Counsel who had recently been awarded the National Honour of Order of Distinguished Service (ODS) and to crown it all a Cabinet Minister responsible for the Country’s Justice system and justice itself. I held the view that the right laid down procedures would be followed in due course. I also relied on the fact that the Secretary General had on previous occasions clarified that information through the press should be treated as rumours and hearsay.
While I was waiting for official communication from the Secretariat headed by a recipient of the Order of Distinguished Service and an astute State Counsel and learned Minister of Justice, I could not believe it when three months later I read that you personally had stated to the press that my period of suspension had elapsed and that I was now at liberty to interact with Party officials. This was the final straw in the back and I concluded that my expectations of your Secretariat and my regard for your abilities and attributes were totally misplaced. I realised that even your comments that press reports were hearsay was simple rhetoric.
It became clear that I had been charged in the press, I had been tried in the press and sentenced in the press. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that all Members of the Central Committee have been of the view that you wrote to me in compliance with the Party Constitution.
During the period that you have been inundated by calls for your resignation, you were quoted in the press as having stated that you were being treated unfairly. Asked why you thought that the call for your resignation was tribal and yet you had not said the same when I was beleaguered you said that you had nothing to do with Given Lubinda’s matter and that ‘Given I.ubinda’s case went through the due process of the Party’s disciplinary procedure …. I think he was given a fair hearing So I think Given received the most civilized way of trying to tell somebody ‘you are wrong*”. Your intention of using me as an escape route out of your upheaval by claiming I had been treated fairly during the period that you besieged me with your unsubstantiated allegations against me is unfortunate. Your statement is not only egocentric but makes it clear that as far as you are concerned this matter against me was closed fairly and judiciously.
To this effect and so that the record is put correct, I request that the provisions of the constitution be followed to the letter as is demanded by Article 40 of the Constitution. Take notice also that the constitution at Article 18 states that the ‘primary objectives of the discipline and sanction is to educate a Party member who makes mistakes and to safeguard the purity and integrity of the Party’.
In this regard, the Constitution obliges you to inform me of the offence that I was found guilty of. Out of the vague allegations which you preferred against me including that of leaking cabinet information to a foreign power (treason) and the numerous other accusations from others, can you please state the ones on which was I found guilty/wanting?
Article 28 provides that a member shall have a right to appeal to a higher organ against any decision as provided in regulation 41 and 42 of these regulations. As you are aware, for as long as you do not communicate the sanction imposed against me in writing, you are denying me my right of appeal.
I now demand from you Sir, the following:
1. A clear judgment or ruling arising from what you are referring to as a civilized way of hearing a colleague. I demand to know the evidence that was relied upon in arriving at the conclusion of the trial panel.
2. A clear sentence or sanction meted against me with all the terms and conditions of such sanction and
3. A clear statement of the recourse that is available to me in the event that I am not satisfied with the ruling or the sanction.
You may wish to know that your failure to make official communication to me on this matter has kept me in the dark on my status in the Party. This in turn has made it difficult for me to participate in the activities of the Party for which I invested a lot of effort, risks and personal resources to help build. You can imagine how painful it has been for me to be kept in the closet by your failure to do as is expected of your Office. Recall how I undertook the awesome task of speaking for the Party at a time when it was very popular for many including some of my accusers to pour scorn and to use unprintable words against the Party and its leadership when we were in opposition. You have made it difficult for me to contribute to the enhancement of the Party’s popularity and to defend it from both internal and external adversaries.
Take kind notice of the fact that I have not leaked this letter to the press because I am still convinced that there is no need to launder dirty linen in the public on matters of the party and its governance. I however ought to stress that any further unqualified utterances from you or any of your associates in public and your continued denial of written settlement of this matter shall force me to react in similar style.
C.C.: The Party and Republican President
C.C.: The National Chairperson
C.C.: The Chairman, Disciplinary Committee
C.C.: The Deputy Secretary General (with hope that she may present this to all MCCs)
* I have elected to withhold the name of the country which you referred to because I do not wish to affect Zambia’s relations with the concerned and any other country.