SHRINKING POLITICAL SPACE FOR THE OPPOSITION IN ZAMBIA.
By Charles Kakoma
The savage attacks on media houses last week by members of the ruling Patriotic Front are a clear demonstration of shrinking democratic space for the opposition in Zambia.
Last week, a District Commissioner in Mpika District cancelled a radio program for United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema on Mpika Radio.
During the same week PF cadres physically attacked Much inga Radio looking for Mr Hichilema whom they thought was present in the studio to harm him.
These incidences are meant to send warnings to media houses to stop featuring opposition leaders or face closure of their institutions. This has a chilling effect on press freedom.
The PF conduct is also a violation of people’s freedoms of expression as enshrined in the Republican Constitution. Even under the corona virus situation, people are still enjoying their rights of expression. Opposition leaders like Hakainde Hichilema should still feel free to interact with society to sensitise people about the corona virus.
It is therefore barbaric and unreasonable to stop opposition leaders from appearing on radio or television to express themselves.
The day the Patriotic Front and its cronies start to dedicate the same verve and vigour to improving the economy as they do to fighting the UPND will certainly be the day that the people of Zambia’s quality of life starts to improve.
The PF in its methodology to remain in power by all means, have thrown everything at the UPND including the proverbial kitchen sink. If it was possible to bring down the house without harming themselves, they would have done that too.
Zambia’s political landscape is littered by inhumane acts by the PF that desecrate all democratic tenets forged and fought for by those we choose to call the fathers of the nation. We are sure they cringe when they see that all that the tyranny they fought against during the colonial rule is back in the skin of some turncoats.
The shackles of intolerance, oppression, nepotism and discrimination are back after our forefathers successfully pushed back against them. Only this time it is black brother on brother, that is if they see Zambians as one as they continue to mock different ethnic groups.
They warn and caution or arrest UPND leaders and members on flimsy grounds and parade them in police stations on cases that mostly do not even have their day in court because the intention is to harass and coerce UPND members into submission.
In this regard, we hold no malice against our gallant men and women in uniform as we are aware they are coerced to apply themselves in this manner that adulterates the dictates of their calling; however, we want to let the PF know that we shall not buckle, we shall not falter.
We will prevail on behalf of the Zambian people in spite of this obstacle.
This is the same PF that has no qualms in even trying to take 1Bally’s life as they attempted to do during the Sesheke bye-elections. This followed a lengthy incarceration of the UPND leader in inhumane conditions for 127 days on tramped up treason charges.
Instead of breaking him, he came out stronger; instead of weakening his spirit, he came out with a stronger resolve; instead of breathing fire on the PF, he came out with an extended arm to reach out to the PF for reconciliation through mediation by our church mother bodies , a gesture which the PF has to date spurned.
It seems the PF are too busy buying opposition Members of Parliament and Councillors in order to portray a false sense of penetration and invincibility. Unfortunately for the PF, Zambians have now seen through that ploy and have given the UPND a signal, a signal for the UPND to fight for them by forming government in 2021, and that we will.
The only dununa reverse that will be there in 2021for the PF will be them retreating into the dingy crevices from where they crept from and where their murky political ideology was born; an ideology of Kleptocracy and skullduggery.
The PF are a group of scared little men who shout from across the fence as they send their proxies to file laughable court causes that are orchestrated to prevent the UPND from contesting the 2021 general elections. We will not delve into the particular matters for now as most are still under the consideration of our courts hence subjudice.
Suffice to say, ba PF, the UPND is ready to come over to your side of the fence and win big by walloping you only if the referee in the name of ECZ adjudicates the fight in a way that will reflect the true will of the majority of Zambians through a free, fair and credible election.
The UPND is alive to the fact that it will not be easy to ascend to power in 2021 in view of the ever shrinking political landscape in Zambia. The PF have no qualms in negating the threat posed by 1Bally’s by trying to take his life as they did in Sesheke.
The PF has no qualms in people being killed and maimed in order to maintain their stranglehold on power. To the contrary, the UPND is of the view that one Zambian life maimed or killed is one Zambian too many.
PF, make no mistake, this time when you start violence, we will stand our ground and defend ourselves to the full extent of the law. No retreating. No holds barred. Nonetheless, the UPND challenges the PF to violence free but issue based politics.
Let us start with a public debate between Hakainde Hichilema and Edgar Lungu on matters currently afflicting our country and the remedies thereof. Finshi mutina kanshi? It is sad that when this country has serious issues that the people want the Presidency to engage the public on through direct discourse, Lungu retreats into hibernation; on the other hand, when it comes to dancing at costly PF induced bye-elections, the Presidential fwenkula is visible to the extent that he needs a solo and bigger stage to show off his dancing skills.
In the Chilubi Island bye-elections he chased all opposition leaders to allow himself dance alone. Well, to avoid violence we chose to leave the island not because we were weak but that we valued the lives of all our brothers and sisters on the island.
Lungu chose to campaign alone so alone we left him. Come 2021, all those from the PF campaign team who clapped for him in Chilubi and other places, will leave him alone also…..for good. Zambians have endured enough and are now tired of the mediocrity in the PF leadership and are shouting, “1Bally – Fix It!”
PF’s posturing to continue ruling post 2021 is thus an act in futility. Posterity will and has started incarcerating the memory of PF in the dungeons of notoriety for crimes against democracy and not being a brother’s keeper.
The UPND and majority of Zambians are now alive to all these PF criminal machinations to monopolise the political landscape in Zambia.
Zambians shall no longer be blinded by the dark veils of deceit that champion inclusiveness but envelops machinations of skullduggery! As Macbeth once said, we have all come to realize that it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” .
We shall not be denied our destiny to be in charge of reviving the dwindling fortunes of our country and people, one which PF have so callously looted and mismanaged.