A grouping of opposition movements in Zambia irked the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party Wednesday by asking Western donors to investigate alleged governmental financial misconduct and political witch-hunts in the country.
“It is shameful for the opposition political parties to rush to the donor community to petition the PF government over matters that could be handled internally,” PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba said.
A 10-page letters to donors, signed by five opposition groups, has been circulating and accuses the ruling party of “nepotism”.
“Zambia is currently experiencing a crisis of confidence in the quality of its governance, raising credible and legitimate doubts that the current group of individuals in the seats of power can be trusted to issue debt, transparently manage financial resources, or conduct themselves within the boundaries of the constitution,” the letter says.
The groups say that the finance ministry recently hired relatives of President Michael Sata while government contracts had been awarded to companies linked to top PF members.
The letter also charges that the media was being intimidated by a string of defamation lawsuits brought by Sata, while at least one member of the press has been jailed.
Kabimba declined to answer the various specific charges raised in the letter, saying the concerns should be handled in meetings between the opposition and the government.
Sata, a former opposition leader, was elected last year to the presidency on a ticket of fighting corruption and unemployment.
He also gained support by invoking a populist streak, verbally attacking the influx of Chinese companies and workers to the southern African country, one of the world’s most important copper producers.
The PF says the opposition grouping, which includes the former ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), is upset as the new government is uncovering corruption during the previous administration.
The MMD says it is being unfairly targeted by the new government for political reasons.
Like many former African colonies of European states, Zambia relies on foreign aid for budget support and to help develop the country. The government in recent years has been working to reduce its dependency on international assistance.
Sata recently lashed out at the European Union after the bloc’s diplomats held talks with non-governmental groups and opposition parties, saying such meetings were “unacceptable”.