NGOs says the Black Friday campaigns have achieved the desired purpose as it has resulted in the PF regime being forced to go flat out to explain and justify the move. But the NGO have reiterated that government should suspend the policy to remove fuel and maize subsides and come up with ways of ameliorating the sufferings of the majority poor ordinary people in rural areas
And the NGO have called on the regime to stop the barbaric attacks on Innocent citizens. Speaking on behalf of other NGO, Operaration Young Vote’ Guess Nyirenda said ‘If those in authority and the police cannot protect the citizens, who are their employers, the citizens may resort to fight back, a situation that would unnecessarily cause bloodshed in our peaceful country..
Civil soceity organizations (CSOs) statement
Given at a press briefing held at the foundation for democratic process (fodep)
On 21st june 2013
Members of the media and fellow civil society leaders present,
We are gathered here to spell out some of the achievements of the black Friday campaign a month since it was launched by the consortium of 12 civil society organisations. We would also like to express our gratitude and utmost appreciation to the overwhelming enthusiasm and support both expressed and unexpressed by various stakeholders including patriotic front (PF) members.
As you may be all aware when government abruptly removed subsidies on fuel and maize product, there were no signs of explanation or engagement in dialogue with the ordinary people. We are happy to report that since the black Friday campaign started and realizing that it was spreading like wild fires, the president first called for a cabinet meeting where he tasked the ministers to be disciples of subsidies removal and preach the infamous and “citizens killing” decision to all corners of the country. The ministers have spread throughout the country spending money and making allowances defending the decision which they themselves do not believe in thereby leaving a trail of confusions in the people they talk to.
Dear colleagues, government did not end at sending out ministers and other senior government officials, media adverts have been placed in all major media outlets explaining government decision on subsidies. Public and media interactive discussions have been arranged. This is how it should be.
At the time of removal of subsidies on agricultural products, there was no mention of maintaining agricultural production, but as we speak now; government has announced the retention of subsidies on fertilizer and input for small scale farmers. This is not a mean achievement of the black Friday campaign.
In view of the foregoing, we still reiterate that government should suspend the policy to remove fuel and maize subsides and come up with ways of ameliorating the sufferings of the majority poor ordinary people in rural areas. Currently, for one to travel to Kasama, northern province, about 850km away from Lusaka, one has to spend zkr380 a round trip from zkr280, while Zambezi is now Zkr 560 a round trip from Zkr440. Mealie-meal is now at zmk85/25kg breakfast in Zambezi and Mwinilunga. Do we then expect better lives for our rural mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who are at the same time being faced with acute food shortages due to crop failure in about 44 districts of this nation? These are the same areas where it is said that malnutrition is high among the children.
Countrymen and women, we need to request government to quickly find a better mechanism to subsidise the lives of the poor so as to conform the ministers and other government officials who are enjoying subsidized lives.
The consortium is calling on president Michael Sata and the PF government to stop the barbaric attacks by the PF cadres and thugs on innocent citizens whose only sin committed is to hold divergent views from those of the pf. If those in authority and the police cannot protect the citizens, who are their employers, the citizens may resort to fight back, a situation that would unnecessarily cause bloodshed in our peaceful country.
This kind of breakdown in the rule of law is unacceptable. We call on all citizens to denounce this kind of governance.
As a consortium, we shall continue to interact and engage with all citizens and stakeholders including government on all our misgivings in the way affairs of the nation are being run. We shall in due course be unveiling our comprehensive strategy of engagement with stakeholder which includes among others, the already rolled out door to door and community insakas.
Thank you and god bless Zambia
Statement delivered by Mr. Guess Nyirenda spokesperson and OYV executive director