The Grand Coalition on the Campaign for a People Driven Constitution says it is dismayed by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s audacity to say that he had allowed the planned Chuundu meeting to take place on Saturday in Monze.
Coalition chairperson Fr Leonard Chiti says, ‘we find it worrying that the President thinks he has power to allow or disallow Zambians from exercising their human rights, in this case freedom of association and assembly, which are guaranteed by our constitution.
‘We want to remind His Excellence that the presidency does not confer human rights instead, him and his government has a duty and obligation to uphold the constitution by respecting those rights, and refraining from undue interference in citizens’ enjoyment of their human rights which are clearly provided for in the constitution.’
Fr Chiti said the fact that Lungu has ‘the audacity to state publicly that he gave a go-ahead for the meeting leaves us without any doubt that he is the one who instructs the police to use the Public Order Act to silence dissenting voices. This also gives credence to claims by some sections of our society that the panga wielding thugs who occasionally harass citizens and disrupt such exercises of fundamental rights have the blessings of the highest office of the land.’
The Grand Coalition further reminded Lungu that there is no law that allows him to confer human rights onto Zambians for him to now appear as if he is a benevolent leader generously ‘conferring human rights’ unto us.
‘In the same statement the President shows his hypocrisy by saying that he will meet the chiefs of Southern Province on Tuesday to “bring an end to the divisive sentiments some sections of society are fermenting to sow seeds of discord in the nation”.
‘As the Grand Coalition, we have no doubt that the sower of divisive sentiments is none other than Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Chama, and not the convenors of the Chuundu that is due to take place on Saturday or any other persons in support of the Chuundu. Chama made his unpalatable tribalistic remarks on 20th June 2015 and that he was equally preceded by his deputy cadre Mumbi Phiri who referred to the people of Southern Province as “bakachema” and that the people of Southern Province have been patiently waiting for some recourse in vain until they have been forced to take this in their own hands.’
Fr Chiti said, ‘we call on all well-meaning Zambians, of any tribe, who genuinely abhor tribalism to travel to Monze on Saturday and give solidarity to the Chuundu as a demonstration of taking a stand against such divisive tendencies being exhibited by the ruling party leadership. We believe that a new people driven constitution will ensure that the party in government respects fundamental civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all of us citizens.
‘We also stress that the final draft constitution provides for a constitutional court to which, if it had been enacted in the 90 days, the injured ethnic group could have taken Davis Chama to seek redress on whether his remarks had not put a slur on the constitutional right of the people of Southern Province to the exercise of their culture.
‘We further encourage our Royal Highnesses, the chiefs from Southern Province to refuse to meet Lungu until he unreservedly apologises on behalf of his cadre and takes responsibility for his cadre’s remarks by firing Chama. There is no way the Head of State should begin to think that it is in his powers to ‘okay’ human rights. We reject this mediocrity, it has no place in our country’, Fr. Leonard Chiti said.