People calling for Zambians to emulate Egyptians are not normal, says president Banda

President Rupiah Banda says people who are saying Zambians must emulate Egyptians, Tunisians and Libyans to demonstrate against government are not normal.

President Banda was speaking during the N’cwala traditional Ceremony in Chipata Saturday.

President Banda urged the people who attended the traditional ceremony to be peaceful and maintain the peace in Zambia.

He advised the people not to listen to people calling for Egypt style uprising especially after the general elections. He said those people are not okay in their heads.

President Banda has been issuing statements warning Zambians against taking to the streets even if his regime retains power after the general elections.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian political activist has said it is not whether but when such demonstrations against poverty will begin in black Africa.

“The popular revolt in North Africa will inspire sub-Saharan Africa from Angola to Burkina Faso, from Nigeria to Eritrea to take the torch of freedom, defy the consequences and march forward,” Shehu Sani has been quoted as saying.

“So whether the popular uprising will happen in southern Sahara is not a question of if, but when.”

However Sani and other observers agree that while the kindling for revolution is stronger in sub-Saharan Africa than North Africa and the Middle East, ethnic and religious divides make it hard to form a common front.

North Africa enjoys “homogeneity in terms of race, culture and religion — all these make it easier to mobilise as opposed to sub-Saharan Africa where there is fragmentation,” says Nigerian academic Eze Osita.

Despite these differences opposition leaders across the continent are calling for their supporters to follow the Arab example and revolt while rulers scramble to contain the fallout. Equatorial Guinea enforced a “media blackout” on events surrounding the fall of the Tunisian and Egyptian leaders.

In Angola, an anonymous call for a mass protest saw the ruling party — in power since independence in 1975 — warn that “serious measures” would be taken against protesters.

In Zimbabwe, where 87-year-old Robert Mugabe has ruled since 1980, a former lawmaker and 46 other people were arrested at a meeting discussing the protests in Egypt.

Even in less repressive countries such as Mozambique or Burkina Faso, and lauded democracies such as South Africa and Senegal, poverty, unemployment or lack of electricity will send protesters to the street.

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