ALLIANCE FOR BETTER ZAMBIA – ABZ
September 14, 2014.
We wish to counsel our Republican President Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata on the important subject of respecting the democratic choices that Zambians make during elections.
In a multi-party democracy such as ours people should enjoy the freedom to vote for a candidate and party of their choice without being labelled as being against development.
Against this background we are very disappointed that in toasting by-election victories yesterday President Sata chose to describe people who voted for the Patriotic Front (PF) candidates as having, “made a clear choice against politics of hate and ill-will and have resolutely decided to vote for development.”
The truth of the matter is that the people who exercise their right in our multi-party dispensation to vote for the opposition don’t by any means reject development in their area and indeed at national level. Therefore it is wrong to brand them as enemies of development and national unity.
Hence we wish to advise President Sata to desist from making statements or engaging in cheap political rhetoric that can undermine the value of our multi-party democracy.
We wish to remind Mr. Sata that he is president of the Republic of Zambia because many Zambians in 2011 decided to vote for an opposition candidate. It is therefore laughable that only after three years the same once opposition leader should equate voting for the opposition to rejecting development.
As ABZ we believe that all opposition political parties in Zambia including those that support PF are driven by the desire for a better Zambia through provision of checks and balances. We believe that these parties have a mission to aggressively challenge the ruling party on issues of public interest as they push for the advancement of the common good.
Against this background we urge all mature Zambians to condemn baseless accusations that the opposition is driven by hate and ill-will.
We think that the meaning of President Sata accusing us in the opposition of being opportunists that engage in meaningless political rhetoric is that he doesn’t listen to issues we raise on the platform of public discourse. Hence we are tempted to think he doesn’t read, watch television nor listen to radio let alone being briefed by state agents about issues we articulate. In other words, we think he is out of touch with reality.
The opposition in Zambia raises issues including among many others the need to have a democratic, just and durable constitution that should guarantee sustainable development and a better life for all Zambians. We also keep signing about the need to diversify the economy especially the agriculture sector to strengthen the economy and create more jobs. Above all, we keep reminding the PF to honour the election promises they made prior to the elections in 2011. So how can somebody who has been following the political discourse in Zambia fail to appreciate our role and how we have been diligently executing it?
Finally, we wish to remind President Sata to be weary of what he says to avoid undermining the integrity of the important office he holds. He needs to keep in mind the reality that as Republic President he is for all Zambians including the opposition and those that vote against his partisan wishes.
It is our prayer that his reappearance in the political ring should be inspiring and unifying.
Frank Bwalya (Fr)