By George Lubasi
The assassination of the President or indeed any other citizen is a serious matter. These stories of alleged attempts on the President’s life or plans to overthrow the government are not new. How these stories have been treated by past and current governments is not new either.
In 2002, there was a claim by government that some people wanted to assassinate president Levy Mwanawasa. Despite being challenged to move in on the alleged assassins, nothing was forthcoming from law enforcement agencies.
In 2003, then home affairs minister, Ronnie Shikapwasha, alleged that some people who were under probe had regrouped, and using plundered money, were plotting to overthrow the government of Mwanawasa.
Shikapwasha said, “The plunderers have gone to organise using the money they stole to remove Mr. Mwanawasa from power. We know their plot. Their plan is organised on ethnic lines but is bound to fail. They have gone from country to country and Europe to source funding get the money they stole.”
Dean Mung’omba challenged the government to arrest the alleged coup plotters. He wondered why, if government knew the plotters as claimed, did not arrest them for such a serious crime.
In 2005, Webby Chipili, then deputy minister at State House, returned with another claim of some people plotting against the government.
In all these cases, nothing, absolutely nothing, came of these claims. No one was ever questioned or arrested despite repeated claims that government had information of what was supposedly going on.
‘Assassins’ go free
In November 2011, defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba, claimed there was a plot by opposition leaders to assassinate government leaders. One would think that such an issue would be treated seriously. From November to now, the nation heard nothing. We can assume the would-be assassins were having a nice time around town.
But GBM has now returned with another version: “I have facts which you can prove that there was an attempt. We have so many security wings which report to us on a daily basis.”
Governments the world over may tolerate criticism as long as it does not border on lawlessness. But governments are known to deal ruthlessly with any implied or actual acts of subversion. Why a heavy-handed government like the PF would allow lawbreakers to walk around town is not known.
As a matter of fact, there is a very thick line between allowing citizens to express their views and engaging in acts of lawlessness. Any citizen conscious of the political environment knows what criticism is and what subversion is. As such, no citizen would blame the government for arresting people engaging in illegal activities. But which government worth its value would let assassins to roam around in the face of evidence of their scheming?
If GBM has the facts as he claims, then what are the security wings investigating? Are they investigating his “FACTS”?
These claims have become GBM’s foremost preoccupation. Just count how many press briefings and statements GBM has issued on this in the last two weeks. GBM has even taken over the role of the government spokesman. That is the problem of running a family government. GBM is not speaking for the government; he is only defending the family – but he is such a poor defender, anyway. It is a pity that this is what taxpayers’ money is paying for.
There is no one who wants to assassinate Sata. PF should just concentrate on delivering the mega promises they made to the people of Zambia. Claims of assassination are just a red herring; they are meant to instill fear in critics as well as divert attention from the core issue of governing.
Disowning the police
On one hand, GBM says security wings are investigating those plotting Sata.
Then we have Ngosa Simbyakula disowning the police who went to search UPND offices. Which government disowns its own wing? A normal governemnt should have said, ‘yes, we asked the police to investigate so that we satisfy ourselves that no one is scheming against the State.’ That is what a government concerned with law and order does. But typical of contradictions in this government, you have two ministers saying different things on the same matter.
You can rest be assured that if the search had yield something, the same government would have wanted to take credit. But they were embarrassed. All the three government newspapers (Times, Daily Mail and The Post) have today chosen to downplay the fruitless search. If the police had found something, you would have seen the screaming headlines.
PF must govern, not intimidate citizens.