We would like to commend ECOWAS for the bold decision they took in cementing democracy in their regional block by making sure that leaders respect constitutionalism as provided by the various national constitutions,international protocols and agreements they signed.
Through ECOWAS intervention, the real winner of the Gambian elections has been installed despite resistance by the dictator Yahya Jammeh, who conceded defeat at first, after being in power for 22 years and later changed his mind.
These are the kind of interventions that we would have expected from other regional groupings such as SADC to make sure that the will of the people is respected at all times.
We are fully aware that the SADC protocol of which Zambia is a signatory, is very clear on the holding of free, fair, transparent and credible elections which reflects the people’s wishes.
Among them is that contesting parties are provided a very enabling environment to peacefully engage the electorates without restrictions, which was never the case with Zambia.
It also provides for equal coverage of the contesting parties in the media and allows free access and an enabling environment for all the media to operate.
There is also a provision for respecting constitutionalism which was never the case here in Zambia as evidenced when Edgar Lungu refused to surrender power to the Speaker of the National Assembly when the petition was lodged, which basically amounted to a political coup d’tat and put pressure on the judges of our Courts.
We fully engaged SADC on all these issues and availed them with all the evidence such as violence perpetuated by the PF leadership, as well as the various documents including the Electoral Code of Conduct and the Zambian Constitution but they never acted like ECOWAS has done.
We are really proud of the firm stance taken by ECOWAS for demonstrating that the treaties, agreements, and protocols being signed are not merely pieces of papers but they must be respected. We also commend the United Nations Security Council for backing the position taken by ECOWAS in defense of restoring democracy in Gambia.