Chiluba: hero or villain, a contribution, Part 1

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
June 19, 2016

June 18th, 2016 was the 5th Anniversary of the death if Zambia’s second president, President Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba.

The question asked by Mr. George Chomba on the 5th anniversary of the death of President Chiluba is whether Chiluba was a hero or villain, reflecting post-death. The article seems to conclude that Chiluba has been consigned to the category of villain. Chomba writes, “Dr. Chiluba remains the only former heard of state not to have been honoured by successive governments despite being the pioneer of democracy and free market economy…he left an indelible mark on the conscience of the nation and transformation of the economy. Yet Dr. Chiluba is hardly recognized as a significant political player and a trendsetter”. Chomba itemizes all the honours bestowed on other leaders and the institutions named after them, but no institution has been named after Chiluba despite his acknowledged and stated contribution to Zambia.

Unfortunately Chomba does not try to give reasons as to why Chiluba has been neglected or who specifically neglected him. Is it because of the massive taint of corruption that was smeared on him? Perhaps. Did those charges stick? Who was responsible for not resuscitating his image?

We all learnt as children that when you point your fingers at the alleged perpetrator of your ills or misfortunes, more fingers point back at you. It is my thesis that it is the MMD government that eventually painted him as a villain. His very successor whom he had hand picked labelled him as corrupt and stripped him of his immunity. There was supposed to be a Chiluba Institute of Industrial Relations near Arcades shopping complex which the MMD tore down. The MMD governed for another 10 years before losing power and during that time, they never named any building, or institution after the modern father of Zambian democracy, Chiluba. You could not expect the Sata government to name buildings after Chiluba when Chiluba bypassed Sata when he named his successor. Sata remembered significant national heroes and named airports after them: Kenneth Kaunda, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula airports.

President Banda of MMD governed for three years before losing power, he didn’t see fit to honour Chiluba in those three years. He forgot his Wako ni Wako mantra that has served him so well elsewhere.

The other thesis is that Chiluba has been neglected because Zambia is imbued with the politics of revenge. Because when one is in power, he or she dishes out favours to his or her friends and relatives and rules dictatorially without let so that when they are ousted from power, revenge, justified or unjustified runs in the veins of the new governors. The previously detained and tear-gassed become the new detainers and tear-gassers.

Chiluba thought President Kaunda had mistreated him so he engaged in revenge politics. Unjustifiably even trying to revoke his citizenship. Those that Chiluba had wronged while in power teamed up to label Chiluba as corrupt leading to his loss of immunity and court cases. Mwanawasa and Sata died before completing their terms so no one could come after them. God took care of that.  But before Sata died, he had an occasion to strip Banda of his immunity and criminally charged.

Studying the brief history of Zambia, I can predict with almost 100 percent certainty that President Lungu after loosing power after this election or if he wins power until 2021, he will be stripped of his immunity and criminally charged because every President has been subjected to the same treatment, with slight variation in respect of President Kaunda. Chiluba probably endured the worst form of treatment. Common law politics of precedents has been set in Zambia, and precedents are powerful inducements.

Zambia has to stop revenge politics. But before that, Zambian leaders have to stop being corrupt, they have to stop cadre violence, they have to stop using illegally the Public a Order Act, they have to stop behaving as if they are Gods on earth and that they will never lose power. All empires eventually collapse and the unrelenting tool of accountability takes over. It rarely fails.

On this 5th anniversary of the death of Chiluba, it has to be pointed out that Chiluba is not forgotten, that not all is lost and that eventually his proper place in the history of Zambia will be recorded and buildings and institutions will be named after him. This rebuilding of the Chiluba image is already underway.  For example, Charles Mwewa has dedicated his 1100-page book on Zambia, the biggest and best book ever written on Zambia so far, entitled, Zambia:Struggles of My People & Western Contribution to Corruption and Underdevelopment in Africa to President Chiluba. The book is found both at Bookworld and Planet Books in Lusaka.

In his dedication, Charles says this: “Frederick T.J Chiluba, April 30th, 1943- June 18th, 2011. You died exactly one month before the proposed launch of this book. I would have loved you to read for yourself, especially on the Chiluba Matrix, Chapter 32. Despite the matrix, you will always be the standard by which the strength of Zambian democracy will be judged. And, indeed, ‘it is true that your greatest gift to Zambia was the establishment of a lasting and sound democratic system'”.There is so much positive written about Chiluba in this book, it is a neutral rather than biased evaluation that rings through. Chapter 32 extols the victory of Chiluba, in context.

The colonialists stated that “if you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book”.  Or use weapons of mass destruction. They colonized us by requiring us to sign a written contract, a contract which we never read because firstly, it was written, and we don’t read, secondly it was written in a language we did not know. To rehabilitate Chiluba and his significant contribution to Zambia, Zambians ought to read about what he did for Zambia, beginning with Charles Mwewa’s book and George Chomba’s article and not forgetting Richard Sakala’s book: A Mockery of Justice. We should annihilate the habit of not reading certain books because they were written by our alleged enemies or because those books extol the virtues of people we hate. When you point at someone who you allegedly think is uncivilized, look at who the majority of your figures are pointing at.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa teaches law at Zambian Open University. He is the compiler of a book found at Bookworld and Planet Books entitled, The Case Against Tribalism in Zambia.

Zambia and the International Criminal Court, Post-Election

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
June 14th, 2016

With all the doubts and misgivings that I have about justice emanating out of the International Criminal Court,(ICC) because that court seems to only target Africans and in reverse, only African dictators invoke that court against the opposition, it looks likely that that court may have a role to play in Post-election Zambia because of the violence that may accompany this important election. The perpetrators of the violence are known by name by many authorities including the police, intelligence, army, the President, the media, the opposition and many individuals. There is photographic evidence as well.

Thus when the case or if the case gets to the ICC, there will be no problem of evidence. The Kenya case at the ICC arising out of post-election violence collapsed among other reasons because the Court failed to access evidence that was in the hands of the government. The government refused to release the requested evidence and further intimidated the witnesses and the case was derailed. That will not be the case in the case of Zambia and to be named defendants. The evidence is in so many hands and the government even if in power post election cannot claim that they did not know about the violence or the perpetrators. The government has been told repeatedly about this violence, that the violence is in the hands of the government and that only the government can control this violence as it is in their hands. The defence by government leaders and party leaders that they personally did not know about the violence or did not personally engage in political violence has been abolished in international criminal law. Wilful or reckless ignorance by the President and his ministers or security apparatus is no defence now.

The police and the army can also not plead that they were following official orders in not preventing the violence or in not arresting the perpetrators. The defence of following orders has been abolished in international criminal law.

The governing party has the primary responsibility of providing peaceful elections and preventing violence from their cadres as well as those of the opposition. The government controls the army, the police, intelligence and all other official security apparatus. Some governments have fifth column security apparatus that secretly kill people. The government controls that too.

The days of non-accountability of sovereign states in international criminal law are over. The Ivorian and Kenyan election violence cases are precedents. The perpetrators in Zambia who are known will not get away with murder. Zambia also has precedents where two of its presidents were stripped of immunity and prosecuted. Thus Zambia doesn’t even have to invoke international criminal law. It has its own precedents. No Zambian no matter how high or mighty they may be before elections, will not get away with murder after the election. Either they will face the force of the law domestically or they will face international criminal law at the ICC. Kenyatta and Rutto looked deflated and devoid of power when they appeared in the courtroom of the ICC. The world has changed.

Lastly, there are many serious crimes in modern law. One of the most serious crimes in the Canadian and American legal systems is an attempt to bring down an aircraft or bringing down an aircraft causing death or injury to people entombed therein. This crime now is elevated to a terrorism offence. Terrorism is an elevated criminal offence and the consequences on conviction are dire. The attempt to bring down an aircraft in Zambia recently, an aircraft carrying the opposition members exercising their constitutional right to campaign for power in the upcoming election, is a serious offence. That the President has so far not commented on this terroristic act despite the circumstantial evidence of his knowledge through media reports,  is extremely worrying. The culprits must be brought to book. The police know them. The government leaders have been told who the perpetrators are. The opposition knows them. The media knows them.  Individuals know them. There probably is photographic evidence.

If these criminals are not charged and prosecuted, they must be handed over to the international criminal court for prosecution. In Canada and the US, these criminals would be called terrorists and they would be behind bars now. The rule of law will eventually be achieved in Zambia during our lifetime.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa practised law in Toronto for 25 years. He teaches law at the School of Law at Zambian Open University.

The Paradigm-Shifting Value of Diversity

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
June 13, 2016

Once upon a time, Sharenews Magazine carried an article written by my good friend, Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya entitled, “Black Middle Class Distressed by Trudeau’s Cabinet Snub”. The message was clear that that cry was unfounded because appointment of minorities to positions of responsibility was much ado about nothing. Such appointments don’t bring much to the table of the most needy and afflicted in society.

I have always taken a contrary view to that position. I in fact wrote a whole 589-page book entitled, “The Politics of Judicial Diversity and Transformation” where I extolled the paradigm-shifting value of diversity. The Black middle-class were right to decry Trudeau’s failure to include Blacks in his cabinet. They could have added tangible and intangible value, direct or indirect benefits or influenced positive developments by osmosis for the present or future benefits. You reap what you sow. Most benefits of diversity are totally imperceptible from the outside.

Let me give a few truncated examples. I always write from the point of view of what I know beginning with my own experiences. When I was appointed to be an Adjudicator by Bob Rae at the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario in 1995, I found that Liquor establishments owned by minorities, especially Blacks, were targeted a lot for licence infractions and revocations. I found that some inspectors were overzealous. I prevented a lot of licence revocations because I could see clearly that racial profiling was at work there. Most infractions stemmed from big Italian-Canadian establishments or mainstream others but these establishments were rarely touched. As a young man, I used to frequent the Black establishments as well as these other mainstream establishments and I knew as I was adjudicating where the problem lay.

Without my being there, some Black establishments would have lost their licences because of racial profiling. Tick one for diversity.

The next example is sensitive but it has to be given. I was also once the Head of the African Studies Department at York University and Course Director. One of my students was Aston Hall, now Judge Aston Hall of the Ontario Court of Justice. This is no embarrassment to mention names as a teachable moment on the importance and tangible and intangible values of diversity. I don’t know why but Aston gave me a very poor Essay and I gave him a “D” assessment.  He approached me distressed and begged me if he could rewrite the paper. I looked at him and detected he was sincere. I had never permitted any other student to rewrite an Essay before but I gave him a chance and he wrote one of the best papers I have ever seen and I gave him an “A Plus” assessment. I doubt if a white professor would have similarly behaved towards a Black student that way, while many white professors give their white students a lot of chances. And I have more examples where this came from but I need to give examples of others.

The famous Supreme Court of Canada decision called simply as RDS stood for the proposition that experience of, for example racial profiling is important in informing a judge in the decision making process, that experience should not be underplayed. This is what is known as “social context” judging. A Black judge in Nova Scotia in a acquitting a Black youth, observed that police officers have a tendency to single out black youths for scrutiny in policing and that police may not always tell the truth when it comes to such matters.  She was speaking from experience. The crown appealed all the way to the Supreme Court that there was a reasonable apprehension of bias.  The Supreme Court rejected the crown’s appeal. The case was triggered by a Black Judge. That case is so important in the calculus of diversity.

Closer home in Ontario and this really is the whole point of this article to dispute Dr.Nangwaya’s article, provides examples of the poignancy of diversity. Take a hard look at the constellation of forces that began to coalesce around the beginnings of the reform to the policy of carding. It only began to happen at the time when the white power structure no longer held all the power and positions that kept carding intact. Bill Blair was replaced by Mark Saunders as police chief of Toronto. The Toronto Police Services Board was in the hands of a minority who had been boxed-in by the white power establishments and couldn’t breath, as it were. Diversity works better when there is more than one person from the minority community and these people must be strong and not uncle toms. Most important the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Ministry responsible for policing was no longer white for the first time in the history of policing. His name was Yasir Naqvi, a minority. Another minority Minister, Michael Coteau at Citizenship and also responsible for the Anti-Racism Secretariat was doing his own thing to promote an environment conducive to ending carding and racism. A minority NDP Member of the Provincial Parliament was also agitating for an end to carding in the Legislature. It is in that context of diversity in the right places that began to cause the wheel finally to start turning from the poundings of the Black Action Defense Committee, Black Lives Matter ( a new movement), the Law Union ( a body I headed in 1990/1991), John Sewell’s Police Accountability group, the ACLC, and other groups and individuals. Diversity is clearly at play in the reforms on carding. Watch out what Naqvi may do as Attorney-General, the first minority to hold that position. There will be attempts to box him in, but Catherine Wynne seems to mean business with diversity judging by her appointment of 40 percent women as Ministers.

Over in the Canadian Parliament, once upon a time, it was Jean Augustine who introduced what we now enjoy as the Black History Month. Without Jean, there probably would be no Black History Month celebration.  In the United States of America, it was a lowly employee in the Kennedy White House who told Kennedy that there is a Black man Thurgood Marshall who qualified  to be appointed a judge if they were looking to appoint a Black person to the judiciary. The rest is history. Marshall ended up at the Supreme Court of the US and despite his being alone there (you need critical numbers like women now have in the Canadian and American judiciary to have an impact and you don’t need weaklings like Clarence Thomas) he still influenced the tenor and trajectories of decisions if you read Justice Sandra O’Connor’s book, “The Majesty of the Law”. O’Connor served with Marshall.

Diversity alone doesn’t solve all the problems, but like the Charter or law in general, it gives you a fighting chance. It depends on how this power is deployed.  It depends as well on the individuals who are appointed to critical positions of diversity and the political will of the government and its quality.

But never underestimate the paradigm-shifting value of diversity.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa is the Head of the new Graduate Studies Programme at the School of Law, Zambian Open University, Lusaka, Zambia.

Michael Sata at the Great Gates of Re-entry into Earth.

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
June 13, 2016

Only Jesus Christ is said to have  arisen from death and come back to earth. He is said not to have stuck around too long to be seen by more people other than his closest allies.
Now imagine arguendo, rather for the sake of argument that Michael Sata reappeared at the Giant Gates of Re-entry into earth and stood there. This is not hard to imagine because both major camps in this political campaign are invoking the memories of Michael Sata and claiming that the other side has betrayed his vision. They both agree that Sata had a vision which now stands betrayed.
Sata would survey the two camps majestically. On the one hand, he would see President Edgar Lungu. He would approve. That was my choice. Then he would immediately see Rupiah Banda. Hadn’t that guy’s immunity been removed? Isn’t that the guy who tear-gassed me? Didn’t he unleash the POA on me and the PF? What is he doing there? Didn’t he lose the 2011 election? He has weaselled his way back to continue enjoying the fruits of state? What happened to the criminal and corruption charges facing him? If this isn’t betrayal I don’t know what is. You can’t lose an election and then continue to rule, not indirectly but directly like Rupiah Banda is doing.
The horrow would continue registering on Sata ‘s face as he continues surveying the Lungu camp. There is Dr. Kaunda. That is okay. I brought him in though now people are saying one party state started creeping in as a result. People are saying the PF government is like one party state. But look there. Why on earth would Dora Siliya be there? Didn’t she insult me and thought I was a horrible person? No way. What is going on here? My God, isn’t that the former priest Frank Bwalya? Didn’t he insult me also? I know in politics there are no permanent enemies but permanent interests but this is too much. I mean this is beyond the pale. This is MMD government in power, a government that I caused to lose in 2011!
Sata would now dwell on the economic front before moving on to survey the other side and  making up his mind who to endorse. They finished some roads quite okay. But they haven’t finished or even started the bottom road from Chirundu to Livingstone. That was my centre piece to dispel the notion that I was tribal. Choma is almost the way I left it, no headway in finishing the reconstruction of a real provincial capital. What happened to the money that I had allocated? I am satisfied with the tremendous construction that has gone on in Muchinga, Luapula and Northern provinces but more could be done to alleviate the continuing suffocating poverty. The Mongu- Kalabo road whose blue print was started by the MMD is complete. That is great. There is no way they could have messed that one up.
But look. There is darkness. I never left any load shedding. Where did that come from? I hear that billions of kwacha have been lost by the business community as a result. There has been no dent in poverty levels since I left. I see some road networks here and there but poor people are hardly beneficiaries of these few roads. Shanty compounds and poverty therein continues to be an eyesore. Prices of everything have gone up. This has left no money in people’s pockets, the central plank that enabled me to secure victory. The constitution is half-done, that was never my plan. You either have a full constitution or no constitution at all. I am glad I was made to fire Wynter Kabimba.

Sata would now gaze at the other camp. Of course Hichilema would still be there. No surprise there.  I am not surprised GBM is there too. He resigned while I was president. He resigned on principle. But look who is also there. This is serious. Guy Scott was with me from the beginning. He has now jumped to this camp of this young man whom I used to quarrel with. Is this a fair exchange or replacement? Banda for Scott? My trusted lieutenant! Oh, my son Mulenga Sata is even there too? What is going on there? Wherever  I was, my son was. I am getting alarmed with the PF.   I can’t believe it, even my nephew Miles Sampa is allied  with Hichilema. Now I am dying, even my wife Kaseba has endorsed Hichilema?  Whatever it is, that is not the political alignments that I left. Or expected. Something really paradigmatic shifting has  happened to the PF to cause this political tsunami! Is it continuing lack of no vision thing? The PF I left is no more! Who has inherited it I don’t know. What I know is, I am not sticking around here at these giant gates of reentry. I am outa here. To be continued.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa teaches law at Zambian Open University.

Lawlessness and Corruption at the Top in Zambia and Africa

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

June 8, 2016

Examples of lawlessness and corruption at the top abound in Zambia and Africa. An expelled person like Felix Mutati cannot legally go ahead and hold a Convention purporting to be a convention constitutive of the very party, MMD that had legally expelled him. At the same time, he had actually legally challenged the very act of his expulsion.  So Mutati knows very well that to follow the law you need to follow certain channels as he did by challenging the expulsion in court, but then he again at the same time engages in lawlessness by holding a Convention to get himself elected as leader of the very party that had legally expelled him, a party that had held a legal convention in May 2012 at which he was not elected leader. The next legal MMD convention should be in 2017. But this ball was rolled a long time ago when Nevers Mumba disbanded his own party to be vice-president of Zambia. It is the law of what goes around, gets around.

Meanwhile what Mutati has caused by his action is to clog up the courts with political cases thereby further delaying legitimate cases in terms of delayed judgments in those other cases. Political cases in Zambia are given preferential treatment by our courts. They are part of political legal theatre. The media gets to write something sensational every day. I have a cousin whose wrongful dismissal case has been in the Supreme Court of Zambia since 2009 without decision, yet so many political cases have gone there up and down since 2009 and they have all been decided. There is nothing urgent about political cases.

If Felix Mutati allegedly can play this game of lawlessness, imagine what could happen if he ascended to power. He would engage in the same plot of lawful/lawless gamesmanship. Do I hear someone conducting the orchestra?

Mutati’s behaviour is less shocking than the behaviour of Mr. Rupiah Banda, the former President of Zambia. He knows very well that the Mutati faction of the MMD was illegally holding a convention, yet there he goes to add fuel to the fire by gracing that unlawful convention. He also knew that Mutati had been expelled from the MMD and that Mutati was challenging the expulsion decision in the courts of law. The lawlessness of this convention was written all over the map. It wasn’t a secret. Further it is the very same Rupiah Banda who had caused further damage to the MMD by crossing over to the PF brand when he couldn’t get his way during the run-up to the 2015 Presidential by-elections! What do you make of this?

As if that was not enough, Banda runs back from the lawless Mutati -held MMD convention to join the PF launch that was held at Heroes stadium and arrives late to standing ovation, a person who had just been tossed out of power by these very Zambians four years previously! Zambia is a theatre of political absurdity. Why was Rupiah Banda kicked out of power? Again the ball that got Rupiah Banda rolling was played years previously when Mwanawasa went out of his party to pick Rupiah Banda as vice-president. Mwanawasa himself had been brought back from retirement by Chiluba, the master dribbler. It is a law that has been set in motion in Zambia.


Over there at the nomination process of the FDD, lawlessness was allegedly engaged in when the leader’s running mate is said to have tendered nomination documents that had been rejected elsewhere. This person could actually be ruling Zambia if the leader of that  party were to be elected president of Zambia and became incapacitated. Lawlessness would now enter the state house!

Lawlessness could also enter the state house if the elected president got elected because of the pudding of prisoners’ votes. The Minister of Home Affairs, who is holding political office lawlessly, because the Zambian constitution does not  allow the continuation of these ministers after dissolution of parliament, states that prisoners will vote in August, 2016, while his Permanent Secretary says that prisoners won’t vote. The constitution doesn’t allow prisoners to vote. Allowing them to vote would be unconstitutional and therefore lawless. This would be engaging in lawless and corrupt vote-buying. Nowhere in the world are serving convicted prisoners allowed to vote. These are vulnerable people who would vote for anybody in power who allows them to vote. Is the PF that desperate to retain power?

A president will be lawlessly installed in state house because that president will be there with the help of fraudulent foreign voters from Malawi, Angola, DRC, Mozambique and elsewhere. There are allegations that foreign voters have been registered to vote in Zambia yet this seemingly credible allegation has not been credibly investigated by the government or ECZ. What a lawless and corrupt country Zambia has become!

Lawlessness and corruption are written all over Africa. Over in Angola, the president appoints his daughter to be the head of the most powerful money-making company, the state’s oil company, a woman who is already the richest woman out of Africa in the world. The oil company there is reported to be one of the most corrupt companies in the world. The president doesn’t care about the optics this conveys.

In Uganda, a newly corruptly elected president appoints his wife to be Minister of Education, a key ministry in any country. She is no Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton or Winnie  Mandela. The same dictator has appointed his son to be a General heading a newly separately created army unit, some sort of presidential private army, an army within the army. Corruption and lawlessness of the highest level. The president is not troubled by the optics at all, despite the fact that this is the second decade of the twenty-first century, over half a century after acquisition of independence from colonial bondage. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe wants his wife  Grace, to succeed him, yet there is a woman, Joyce Mujuru, who actually fought in the guerrilla war that brought Mugabe to power and was once Vice-Presudent, who should be the President.

Indeed the Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, as per Ayi Kwei Armah’s book title.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa is the compiler of The Case Against Tribalism in Zambia and teaches at Zambian Open University School of Law.


Once Upon a Lifetime: The legend of Muhammad Ali, a thort tribute

By Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, Ph.D.

muhammad-ali-1 ali

The passing of Muhammad Ali, the Greatest Boxer the world has ever seen in millions of people’s estimation is a great loss. Not only was Muhammad Ali the greatest boxer of all time, he was also a paradigm shifter of all-time proportions not only in the United States, but in the entire world. People can be great in their own countries, or in their own sports, but nowhere else. Muhammad Ali was great even in other countries, in fact in the entire world. And beyond the sport of boxing. I will repeat this point below, for emphasis.

To fathom the greatness of Muhammad Ali in this world,  put it or consider  it this way. There have been or are other good or great sportsmen and women in this world, people like Pele, Tiger Woods, Messi, Arthur Ashe, George Best, Joe Louis, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Joe DiMaggio, Sugar Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson, Eusebio, Hank Aron, Jack Johnson, Margaret Court, Wilma Randolph, Serena Williams, Cristian Ronaldo, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry and others, how many of these transcended their narrow sports recognition? They were or are known purely for their skills in their sport specialization.

The same cannot be said of Muhammad Ali. He was renowned for more than his sport. I have written a lot elsewhere about the legend of Muhammad Ali. He was a great politician, who was concerned about the poor Vietnamese and refusing to fight a war against them as he was concerned about Black folks dealing in dope in Ghetto USA. Think of any other sportsperson as concerned and as renowned for that? He sacrificed his profession and enormous earning potential to maintain a principle that he can’t fight a foreign war and kill innocent people when his enemy was there right in front of him, the United States government. In comparison, Socrates come to mind but Socrates was not a sportsperson. What happened to Socrates in those days is equivalent to what happened to Muhammad Ali. Ultimate Sacrifice. The death penalty in life and in sport. No other athlete ever did what Muhammad Ali did to maintain a principle against all odds.

Conscientious objection to war became a mantra throughout the world. He was persecuted and prosecuted for it. He eventually won the case in the US Supreme Court, the only sportsman to ever fight the machine of the US government single-handedly and win at the end. There is a book on this entitled, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight: Clay versus the USA. Muhammad Ali could simply have done what Great Boxer Joe Louis had done in the forties, accept the recruitment into the army and be sent overseas to do exhibition matches in the safety of the camps very far away from the war zone. Muhammad Ali refused to even contemplate this charade, and in principle and for a principle.

Muhammad Ali could simply have practised his religion of Islam in private and not ignite public ire in the religio-phobic USA of the 1960s, a forerunner to the 9/11 and Donald Trump present era. Muhammad Ali had no time for hypocrisy. He publicly announced his religion sending tremors throughout the US state apparatus that ignited his persecution and Muhammad Ali!s defiance and eventual triumph. Which other athlete could have done this?

Muhammad Ali was also a beautiful poet. A great comic and entertainer. Think of another sportsperson of comparable credentials!
Think of any other athlete who was as great in the ring, or golf course or soccer field etc as he was outside of it! Nada. In my travels in far away places where there are hardly any Black people, I like to tease people by asking them whether they knew or have heard of Babe Ruth or Jesse Owens or Usain Bolt or Cristiano Rinaldo, Pele or Joe Frazier or Messi  and any number of great sports figures. Many would know a combination of great sportspeople. Many drew blank stares. But everybody had heard of Muhammad Ali. Without exception. Then I knew I had hit a jackpot.

The greatest compliment I have for Muhammad Ali is that he was like a fairy tale. Something that is not reality, a great fable to teach as a lesson, a parable. In the case of Muhammad Ali, the fairly tale was and is actually real. An unparalleled enigma.

Not many people are fortunate enough to end well, indeed better than a Hollywood ending because they never celebrate the fruits of their previous sufferings and persecutions. They die poor and alone. Many never see the beautiful endings of their sacrifices. Martin Luther King stated that he may never live to see the promised land, but his people as a whole will get there. Mahatma Gandhi died just about the time his sacrifices were bearing ripe fruits. Many guerrilla leaders are killed before independence. Think of Josaia Tongogara in Zimbabwe or Chris Hani in South Africa.  Ernesto Che Guevara briefly enjoyed respite in Cuba.  Exceptions include Mao Tse Tung in China, Hochi Minh and General Nguyen Van Giap in Vietnam, guerrillas who lived to tell.  A few wrongfully convicted people got vindicated and secured from the jaws of death and lived well beyond to celebrate. In the modern era, I count two greatest individuals who lived to top the beautiful Hollywood endings : Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali. And deservedly so.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa lives in the fantasy world of sports. He is the Head of Graduate Studies at the School of Law, Zambian Open University, Lusaka.

Memories of Rio de Janeiro

By Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, Ph.D.


You will be hearing and seeing a lot of Rio de Janeiro in the media and TV very soon. This is because of the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.  Since life is and should not be about politics all the time, I am digressing to talk about Rio in this column. One of my true passions in life is tourism and travel. And that is how and why I got to Rio.

There are many beautiful cities in the world but Rio is one of the top most beautiful cities among the toppest beautiful cities. Natural topography and human agency have combined to create the beauty that is Rio. There are small hills that jut out like loafs of bread in front of mountains fronted by beautiful natural harbours and sandy beaches and blue waters. Then human beings came and built old European city type buildings, the ones that last forever and not the glassy American-type of today. The people are vibrant, some of the most happy and life- loving people in the world.  Brazilians love to enjoy life.

I visited Rio by design. When I was living in Washington, D.C. in the  early eighties, I read a magazine article that isolated six cities as the most beautiful cities in the world. We know of course that any such categorization is highly subjective. But I was intrigued. The writer thought that the most beautiful cities in the world were: Cape Town , South Africa, Sydney, Australia, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Canada, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil And Paris, France. When one leaves out New York, London and Geneva, on a list of beautiful cities,  then you know the subjectivity of that selection. At that time in the early 1980s, I had never been to any of those cities. I had only been to Dar es Salaam, Ottawa, Toronto, Monze, the Copperbelt, Livingstone and Lusaka.

The article about these beautiful cities ignited my imagination and I started building castles in the air. Most things we do are stimulated by external or internal objects. The mind receives the information and starts processing or digesting the data. Even when we are asleep, the mind continues to plot how to achieve the desired object. Even when you have no means or money to achieve the goal, the mind keeps on dreaming because it doesn’t know you have no money, even when you try to tell it.

The desire to visit all these alleged beautiful cities was unrelenting. I had to visit all of them. I was sold. I also had to visit New York, London and Geneva which cities I had heard were also beautiful. Elsewhere I have written in detail how I ended up visiting all these places and more. The following is a truncated summary.

Since I was living in Washington, DC, I organized a few friends to drive to New York and I instantly fell in love with it and have been there numerous times. It is a city apart. It is indescribable. From there I had a friend in Vancouver and I got him to invite me to a conference that he was organizing at Simon Fraser University. The conference paid for my trip. My work place in Washington was a beehive of connections to a lot of educational and human rights schools in Europe and Asia. It was at a time when the human rights revolution was at its height. I got a scholarship to attend one such school in Strasbourg, France. This is near Paris, London and Geneva, so I hoped to all these places in summer. I took in some study programmes at The Hague and UN and ILO in Geneva. I was killing many birds with one stone.

I had also discovered that York University in Toronto, where I was a student on leave, gave travel funds to students to attend conferences. The Provost whose office disbursed the funds began to be visited by my proposals for conference funds. Universities were not broke then. I also joined a group called International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law which organized rotating conferences throughout the world. York university gave me travel funds to attend conferences in Tokyo, Kobe, Sydney, Hong Kong,  Beijing, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Johannesburg and other places. While in Johannesburg, the conferences organizers took me and others to Cape Town and Robben Island. While in Beijing, I found myself at the Great Wall of China.

In the process of travelling, obviously I came across a great deal of information  on using credit cards to accumulate travel credits, air miles, how to save on hotels and accommodation and an incredible window into the world of tourism and the tourism industry. I had once written to President Mwanawasa about how to improve tourism in Zambia.

Through the use of air miles that I had accumulated, I was able to visit Rio de Janeiro. I was doubly luck that I found a hotel right on the famous beach of Copacabana and I was put In a room on the top floor of that hotel, coincidentally facing the Cocovado mountain on which the Christ the Redeemer monument is constructed. You will see a lot of that statue of Jesus Christ  during the Olympic Games. It is one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. It glows at night in gold colour, one of the most beautiful sights you can ever see. I would sit on the balcony at night just admiring that monument.

I travelled to several cities around and in some of them, you can still hear people speaking in the Yoruba language of Nigeria. Brazil took a lot of slaves from Nigeria. I visited the World famous Macarana soccer stadium where the Legendary Pele made his name. I took pictures on the Nelson Mandela Blvd. I walked on the beach where you will see that Brazilians are crazy with exercising and keeping healthy good looking bodies, even the very old like to jog, exercise and looking fit.

Once you start travelling, there is no going back. You become a slave to the travel industry. I have visited the six most beautiful cities and more and I still want to go places. That article that I read in the early eighties turned me into a slave to the travel industry, a contented slave traveller, nonetheless.

Through travel, I shook hands with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg where he was the Keynote speaker at the conference there. I also shook hands with and listened to the speeches of some of the greatest judges, lawyers, foreign ministers, ambassadors, politicians, professors and lecturers of many countries including Zambia. Through a process known as osmosis, I acquired a great and invaluable education by travel.

As I hear and see the images of Rio during these Olympic Games, I will be salvating and the enjoyable memories of Rio the Beauty, will be triggered.


To all the teachers: You are the true heroes of this world

By Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, Ph.D.

We don’t thank our teachers enough if at all. In many respects they are the true heroes of this world. Almost everybody who has succeeded in this world has passed through some form of education through the hands of teachers. Some of the teachers have laboured in poor conditions, with poor pay, poor housing conditions, poor class room facilities, delayed pay or no pay at all for stretches of periods. Some are confronted by violence in the ghettoes of New York and Chicago and elsewhere. Yes most of them toil to teach.

Some students climb to the mountain top in their chosen field because of the encouragement of one or two teachers who never lost hope in them no matter their attitude towards education or lack of motivation or lack of conducive home environment, sexual abuse at home, neglect, natural lack of learning capacity and ability, hopelessness, and other disabilities. Most teachers never know that they made a gigantic positive impact on a student’s life and future, because pupils and students never tell their teachers about the life- changing influences they had on these pupils and students.

Most times the impact may not readily be recognized or appreciated until sometime latter. Sometimes it may appear that the teacher hates the pupil or student or is authoritarian when the motive may actually be the opposite. It may feel like being raised by what may resemble an authoritarian parent. The parent may have the best of motives and intentions in being that way towards his children. Years later, the way one was raised may turn out to have been the best thing that ever happened to that child. Discipline, respect for others, hard work and accountability may have been inculcated. Of course sometimes the road to hell may have been paved with the best of intentions. There is often, no straight line to anything in life.

This column is intended to get the reader to jot down some notes about some of the teachers on reflection, who had significant positive impacts on their education and future. Did they thank those teachers, our unheralded heroes? Can you trace some of those teachers and thank them if they are still alive? Can you trace their wives or husbands or children or brothers and sisters or parents and thank those teachers through these channels? Belated gratefulness will still be appreciated. We shouldn’t only thank our teachers who supervised us during our Masters and Doctoral dissertations.

You can’t of course thank all your former or present teachers. Not all of them had the same impact. And this expression of gratefulness must be genuine.

I recently traced my elementary and primary school teacher and headmaster who was crucial to my success in my earlier education. I had expressed my gratitude about that teacher  to my father and everybody over the years but not to that teacher because I had not seen him for decades, until April 2016. His name is Mr. Domenic Mooya. He was my teacher and headmaster from old grade one to grade seven at Chona Elementary and Primary School in eastern Monze. If I was absent any day from school all the years from grade one to grade seven, I would find Mr. Mooya  at my home with my father waiting for me. Most of these times I would be out malingering with other pupils. If I was sick at home, and therefore absent from school, there he was coming to see me. I thought the teacher hated me at first.
The Headmaster was responsible  for choosing where we would apply for high school education and how many students would apply to each high school. He made me apply to Canisius College as it was then called. No other pupil was allowed to apply to Canisius other than me that year. Canisius was the best secondary school then. I got accepted and went all the way to the heights of the academic ladder.

In April 2016, I cornered Mr. Mooya at Chikuni  Mission, where the Jesuit Priests gave him a plot of land, to first thank him profusely, for the positive impact he had on my life and secondly, to interrogate him about why of all the students during my years at Chona Primary School, he took particular interest, care and notice to my educational well-being. Was it in conspiracy with my father who had constructed a makeshift classroom behind our house even before I started going to school?

Mr. Mooya looked at me and simply said, “you have always been the pride of my teaching life”. I had traced this teacher to thank him for what he had done for me, only for him to turn the tables around and give me one of the biggest complimentary boosts of my life. If my young brother Listene Hamalengwa and my taxi driver Austin Mwale had  not been  there, I would have cracked and cried. It was that intense. Thank the teachers who impacted your lives positively. Sometimes even negative experiences could turn out to be positive.

I have thanked a great deal of my teachers.  The teachers I thanked most are those who taught me in Law School mainly because that is when it dawned on me that teachers make a difference. Before that, I had taken it for granted, like we do to our parents, that teachers teach and they get paid for their services. In law school, I began to thank my teachers. I was terrified of Tax Law but the teaching enthusiasm and gentleness of Professor Peter Hogg made a difference.  I passed Tax Law and fell in love with it. Peter Hogg also taught me Constitutional Law and I now sleep and dream Constitutional Law of many countries. I write about Constitutional Law.
Because of the experience in Tax Law with Peter Hogg, I went and did further courses in Tax. I did Tax Policy and International Taxation  Law with Professor Neil Brooks. This Professor is out of this world in terms  of imparting tax policy and international tax law knowledge to his students. He always has a smile on his face as he expounds complex tax issues and you cannot help but fall in love with Tax Policy and International Taxation Law. I thanked Professor Brooks.

I thanked Professor Reuben Hasson who taught me Commercial Law. I thanked Professor Harry Glasbeek who taught me Corporations and Criminal Law. These professors could keep you laughing while they were teaching and you were absorbing the knowledge. These two were unique teachers.

I thanked Catherine MacKinnon who taught me Constitutional Litigation. When MacKinnon is teaching, you can literally feel and hear your brains shifting inside your head. You can feel yourself thinking about what she is teaching. You can feel right away that your paradigm about constitutional law and litigation will never be the same again. I have never felt that way with any other professor in my entire life. I approach almost every legal issue  I litigated no matter what area,  through the lenses of constitutional law. This is thanks to Catherine MacKinnon.

I have mentioned other teachers and thanked them in my book, How Are We Gona Win this One: Doing Time With Clayton C. Ruby, Criminal Lawyer Extraordinaire (2002). This book was to thank a most extraordinary criminal lawyer under whom I did my articles of law, Mr. Clayton Ruby of Toronto.

I call upon every reader of this column to take time to reflect and recall and thank all the teachers who made a difference one way or another in their educational paths. Teachers are some of our greatest heroes.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa is the Founding Head of the Graduate Studies Programme in Law at the school of law, Zambian Open University, Lusaka.

Sonta Epowabomba in Zambia, 2011 to 2016: The Evidence

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

May 30th, 2016

The question Sonta Epowabomba in Zambia between 2011 and 2016 is the easiest question to answer in the entire world, in fact in the history of the world. Quintus Cicero who centuries before Christ wrote a prima entitled How to win an Election would not want to address that question for his book was based on propaganda and not evidence. He probably would now write a book on How to Lose an Election based on Evidence and Not Propaganda. He would let the voter answer honestly the following questions which are neutral and objective and not based on political affiliation, emotions of hate or love, age, gender, race, tribe, region, education, ignorance, cadreism and so on but based on informed knowledge and best interests of Zambia at heart imbued with love, patriotism and one nation. SONTA EPOWABOMBA WE ZAMBIAN?


2011 Sept                                                   2015 Jan.                     2016 June


Km of roads built                                             ?                                       ?

Jobs created since and up to

Jobs lost since and up to

Price of mealie

Increase in price of mealie meal

Dollar and kwacha exchange rate

Price of petrol, decrease or increase

Amount in debt, decrease or increase

Existence of load shedding, present or not Cost of load shedding on business Cost of borrowing decrease or decrease Rate of inflation, increase or decrease Number of Ministers and Deputies Civil servants paid on time Infrastructure built since and up to Hospitals built Schools built Constitution enacted fully Use of Public Order Act Level of Corruption Level of wealth of President and Ministers Change of life in rural areas Change of life in shanty compounds Level of participation of women Salary increases for President and Ministers Salary increases for civil servants Salary increases for ordinary workers Performance of the Judiciary Performance of the Police Level of political civility Level of political violence What questions do you  yourself have?

What is the balance sheet, neg or pos?


Create a card or poster and answer each question and walk with it and confront the politicians to explain to you and to SONTA EPOWABOMBA in these areas and more since 2011.

This is on balance the easiest question to answer in history.

Dr.  Munyonzwe Hamalengwa teaches law at Zambian Open University School of Law where he is setting up a Masters of Law and Doctorate in Law programmes.

The Uniqueness of the Obama Presidency in American History

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa

May 27, 2016

President Barrack Obama continues to trail-blaze in American foreign policy where other presidents never even dreamt of venturing into, making him the most courageous president in foreign policy affairs in American history, rivalled only by his gigantic successes in domestic policies. His latest and unprecedented visits to Vietnam and Hiroshima, Japan, are just the latest in his foreign policy forays.

Remember that when he was running for President, Obama’s most emphasized weakness was that he had no Foreign Policy experience, let alone domestic experience. He was a first term Senator.  Now look at what summits he has climbed!

The background of why I am positing that Obama is the most courageous president in foreign affairs matters in American history is the following. No sitting American president had ever visited a country on which the Americans had ongoing active economic or other sanctions. Only Obama could do that with his visits to Cuba and Vietnam.  He also broke the American embargo on Iran when the nuclear deal was done with Iran last year.

Further no sitting president had ever visited Hiroshima which was one of the only two sites in history ever hit by nuclear weapons unleashed by another country, this time by the USA. The other site was Nagasaki also in Japan at the same time as Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Many presidents have come and gone since the bombs were dropped by the Americans, killing over 200,000 people instantly with thousands injured, but not one sitting American president ever went to see and learn about that tragedy: not Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson,  Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, or Bush no. 2.

From Kennedy to Bush no. 2, no president ever dared visit Cuba. From Nixon to Bush no. 2, no president ever dared visit Vietnam, a scene of America’s greatest defeat and embarrassment in history. An American president could not visit Cuba, a country that also defeated America at the Bay of Pigs. Americans as declassified intelligence reports disclosed, tried but failed to kill Fidel Castro over 70 times using various means. Americans don’t cohort with people like Cubans who have embarrassed them.

Obama has been the only American President in history to call and host  an American-African summit with most African presidents attending in August 2014 and given an opportunity to solicit and access American economic resources. This has never happened before.

Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1970 was regarded as revolutionary, which indeed it was but it was in the context of the Cold War where these two countries were teaming up to isolate the Soviet Union. Besides the two countries had never fought or dropped bombs on each other, so the enmity was not that deep. Vietnam and Cuba had fought with the USA and defeated the USA. As Obama said when he killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011, after ten years of hunting for him, the USA has a long memory and never forgets. It seeks revenge in foreign affairs. This has been its history from inception.

None of the previous presidents had the temperament to be different, to break out of the historical-national psych,  and to be fore and far-sighted, to be audacious and to be un-afraid to try something different. The explanations for Obama’s courage reside in the fact that he was the first non-white President in  American history and therefore did not have the baggage and entitlement and cheekiness and racial superiority that envelope white  people historically. He did not have the burdens that white presidents have. He was not entombed and cocooned into white slavery. The American national psych did not destroy him. He was free, liberated and a free thinker.

The lesson here is simple. Diversity in every endeavour of human experience is of singular importance. We must strive to put different people of all races, tribes, genders, religions, ages etc in leadership positions as this change and diversity has the genes to bring out the best possibilities and realities  in human nature. Without Obama, there would have been no break-through in American foreign policy and practice regarding Cuba, Iran, Vietnam, Hiroshima, American-Africa Economic Summit of 2014 and so on. This is just a tiny sampling of what Obama has done in world politics.

I have written widely about the value of diversity in my 589-page book, The Politics of Judicial Diversity and Transformation. Obama represents clearest the value of diversity, of trying something different.

Obama also as an individual has unique qualities which one can glean from his book, Dreams from My Father where he talks about his discovery and rediscovery of himself, his community, his race and America and the world. No American president so reexamined  himself, because for them, everything was normal. Nothing needed to be examined or reexamined. He is also animated by his disdain for the politics of fear that enslaves presidents and nations, fear of what is different from us. In his book, The Audacity of Hope, he unleashes his intellect to talk among other things about the need to emphasize what commonalities bind human beings and not emphasizing the differences which divide human beings. Do you think Donald Trump is similarly predisposed?

Obama has healed this world, no other Black leader in history, perhaps with the exception of the Giant of the Giants, Nelson Mandela has so lit this world with hope and pride, with the ideal that there is nothing negative to display idealism in this world. In idealism about the goodness of human nature, lie the possibilities of liberation and freedom, of being . When Obama steps down on January 20th, 2017, he will leave a trail of hope into eternity, hopefully there will be others to carry it forward.

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa teaches law at Zambian Open University School of Law.