THE THIN LINE BETWEEN PARTY AND STATE

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In constitutional terms, there should be a clear distinction between party and state. The president of a country is representing the whole people. However, when that president puts on the hat of the leader of a party, he or she speaks for the party. It is important that state functions are delineated from party functions.

Very recently, remarks are attributed to the executive indicating what constitute threat to national security. No press release has been issued by the state to indicate that the country is facing a security threat and no arrests have taken place on that score. What the public is aware of is a treason trial that is still taking place which is adjourned for judgment at the end of this month. Another unfortunate incident is the shooting of three police officers, two of whom died of gunshots. The government should be mindful of the terms used to communicate with the public.

We therefore hope that the country is viewed as an independent entity. When crimes are alleged, the police should conduct investigation without any prejudices being harboured and those arrested should be taken before a court and given a fair hearing. In that case, the court will decide what further action the state should take.

All citizens and officials in particular should assist the courts in their assertion of the presumption of innocence and the right to fair hearing of all those who appear before them. No pronouncements should be made that will be prejudicial.

On the other hand, if political parties were to have contradiction, it would be the duty of the inter party committee to try to settle such disputes. Therefore there is need for all political leaders to distinguish conflicts between parties and settle them through dialogue and matters that are considered to be infringement of the law to be left in the hands of the police and the courts for legal action.