Oasis Forum condemns PF attack at BIGOCA

Joint Press Statement                                                                                 For Immediate Release

                                                                                                                                      1 June 2013

The Oasis Forum and its constituent members are appalled and shocked by the behaviour of Patriotic Front (PF) cadres who attacked a peaceful gathering of several civil society organisations, yesterday, 31 May 2013, inside the Church of the Bible Gospel Outreach Church in Africa (BIGOCA) situated in Matero township, Lusaka. The consortium of civil society, exercising their rights, were gathered to pray and peacefully protest Government’s removal of subsidies on Maize meal, agriculture and fuel.

That PF cadres, wielding sticks and all manner of offensive instruments descended upon innocent citizens, Church leaders, journalists, cameramen and some politicians in a Church, is unprecedented and totally shocking.

Having spoken to some of our injured colleagues, we are left without any doubt that blame is to be laid squarely on the shoulders of leaders of the Patriotic Front Government and the kind of intolerance that they are introducing into our politics. The manner of the violence suggests pre-meditated and planned behaviour.  We have said it before: This is evil and wrong. The Oasis Forum condemns the perpetrators of this violence and calls upon them to embrace civil ways of co-existence.

We further lament the diminishing space for dissent in Zambia. In our democratic set-up, citizens and opposition political parties must be accorded legitimate space to register different opinions, for example, through peaceful protests. Government must not be seen to stifle genuine disagreement.

Once again, we call upon the Zambia Police to be impartial and to protect all citizens of Zambia at all times. The manner in which the Zambia Police currently operates leaves much to be desired.      

Signed:

____________________    ______________________                 _______________________

Rev. Suzanne Matale                                  James Banda                                                Fr. Cleophas Lungu

General Secretary                                            President                                            Secretary General

Council of Churches in Zambia     Law Association of Zambia               Zambia Episcopal Conference

               (CCZ)                                                                (EFZ)                                                                      (ZEC)

 

 

_______________

Beatrice Grillo

Board Chairperson

Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council

NGOCC

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