Life: What a journey: CHARLES CHISALA
I HAVE a little confession to make to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Patrick Matibini. Sir, I am one of those people who are hopelessly addicted to the debates during the Houseâ€™s sittings broadcast live by Parliament Radio on the frequency FM 92.5.
It is now common for my workmates and visitors to find me with earphones plugged into my hearing organs as I keenly follow the boring, humorous and sometimes acrimonious debates while doing my work.
As a result of this strange obsession with parliamentary debates I now know very well the â€˜lumpensâ€™ and â€˜lumpenessesâ€™ among the current crop of your honourable members.
I also know who the gentlemen and the ladies are among them. Now God has heard my prayers and that of other Parley addicts. We will be able to watch these debates live on TV thanks to the innovative ZNBC.
On Thursday I particularly found the debate on the report from the Committee on Legal, Gender and Childrenâ€™s Rights. In all fairness I must share part of what I heard with my beloved readers. I hope I am not breaching any parliamentary privilege that may have me hauled before the committee on discipline to explain why I shouldnâ€™t be handed over to my brother Percy Chato, the hard working Commissioner General of the Zambia Correctional Services.
I donâ€™t want to be a guest in one of his hospitality facilities just now.
Yes, there was a heated debate on whether the death penalty should be abolished or not in Zambia.
Some opposition and ruling party MPs opposed the death sentence while some supported it, but on condition that some offences be exempted from capital punishment.
It was one of those rare moments when the honourable members debated with independent minds and not on partisan lines, for which I am contemplating rewarding each one of them with the choicest red-breasted bream (impende) fresh from Lake Bangweulu in my home district, Samfya.
Member of Parliament for Luena, Honourable Getrude Imenda, was the heroine or shero of the day. She was on the floor explaining why treason should be expunged (I am now waxing legal) from the list of capital offences that should attract the death penalty.
The core of her argument was that there is a high possibility of some politicians using it to settle old scores against their rivals.
Then she gave an example that sent the honourable members on both sides of the House hooting and slapping their laps with excitement.
Hon Imenda gave an example of a well-known and respected freedom fighter, the late Munukayumbwa Sipalo, who ran an advertisement calling on native Africans to kill any white creature they would see that moved on two legs during the struggle for independence.
Of course he was referring to the cruel white settlers. The colonial government of Northern Rhodesia arrested the militant and charged him with treason.
According to Honourable Imenda the independence movement hired a clever lawyer from the United Kingdom to represent Mr Sipalo.
The lawyer entered the court room during one of the hearings with a live, squawking white chicken. Then he asked the court, â€œWhat is the colour of this creature?â€
Someone answered, â€œWhite.â€
â€œWhat is its name?â€
â€œItâ€™s a chicken.â€
â€œHow many legs has it got?â€
â€œTwo,â€ someone answered.
Then Mr Sipaloâ€™s lawyer asked the bench to make it clear as to whether all those who had slaughtered chickens, including court officials and the people seated in the gallery, would be detained and charged with treason.
The House was drowning in laughter, cat calls and praises for Hon Imenda as Dr Matibini struggled to resist joining in the boyish and girlish mirth that had struck the House, as well as restore order in his usual light-hearted fashion.
Hon Imenda earned herself quite a generous serving of flattering titles from the appreciative honourable members, especially the males, when she sat down.
On a serious note I personally support the death penalty. It is an effective deterrent against heinous crimes such as murder, aggravated robbery and armed insurrection.
The so called â€˜progressiveâ€™ countries where the death penalty has been abolished are groaning under mind-numbing cases of violent crimes including murder.
Some people have tried to use the Bible and God to support their opposition to the death penalty, deliberately confusing justice with vengeance.
When someone steals your shirt and you report them to police, then police arrest the suspect and take them to court it is not vengeance. It is called justice.
He is the God of justice. Why should some scoundrel who callously grabs your cheerful seven-year-old girl on her way from school, sexually assaults her and then takes away her life in the most brutal way be allowed to keep his own life?
Tell me. Why should society continue sheltering, feeding and clothing such a brute?
The argument that the killer should be reformed and rehabilitated into a better citizen, empowered with a skill from which society can benefit as a way of paying for the crime is hollow.
I totally disagree. When someone commits a crime the primary focus of taking them to court is to make them suffer for the crime they committed. Consequences.
While the death sentence cannot entirely stop capital crimes it reduces the number of such cases drastically.
Itâ€™s a proven deterrent.
Let us not be carried away by the propaganda of the non-governmental organisations which are only serving the whims of their foreign masters and mistresses who fund them.
Even the worldâ€™s arguably most advanced and â€˜progressiveâ€™ country, the United States, is still executing capital offenders by lethal injection.
Abolishing the death penalty instead of simply reviewing the offences that should attract it will be a grave mistake, which this country will regret for millennia to come.
The civil society does not mean well.
Thatâ€™s why they tried to cleverly sneak some immoral articles in our new Constitution that would have glorified and legalised homosexuality under the thin veil of â€˜minority rightsâ€™.
Life: What a journey: CHARLES CHISALA