Shikapwasha tells NGOs to form political party

Mulafulafu, Lifuka (middle) and Lee Habasonda in Kaunda suit

Mulafulafu of CAritaS, Lifuka of TIZ (middle) and Lee Habasonda of SACCORD in Kaunda suit

GOVERNMENT has challenged civil society organisations, which yesterday (Wednesday) resolved to honk against the acquittal of former president Fredrick Chiluba every Friday, to come out in the open and form a political party.

Chief Government Spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha said the civil society organisations, which also demanded the resignation of Vice-President George Kunda and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga had lost direction.

And Dr Chiluba said the objectives of the organisations were to use his name in an attempt to bring down a legitimate government.

Yesterday 17 civil society organisations urged citizens to honk and wear black clothes every Friday to express their displeasure over the Government’s position not to appeal against the acquittal of Dr Chiluba.

Speaking during a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, spokesperson for the 17 civil society organisations and Caritas Zambia executive director Sam Mulafulafu said the organisations were further calling for the resignation of Mr Kunda and Mr Mchenga claiming they had failed the nation.

But Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said the civil society should instead form a political party so that they could squarely be met in the political arena.

He said by honking and holding campaigns, they were in a way agitating for anarchy in the nation and that the Government would not allow such.

“It is sad that even respected NGOs have lost direction and have joined in this dirty campaign over Dr Chiluba . The best they should do is form a political party so that we can meet in a political arena,” Gen Shikapwasha said.

He said if the civil society grouping had an issue against Dr Chiluba, they should seek legal redress than resorting to demonstrations and anarchy.

Gen Shikapwasha however warned that the Government would not sit idle and watch the civil society disturb the country’s peace.

In an interview, Dr Chiluba’s spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba, said the Government should be wary of the NGOs, which were using Dr Chiluba’s name to fight President Banda’s Government.

Dr Chiluba said as far as he was concerned, the acquittal meant that he was cleared of all criminal cases and that his immunity would be automatically restored.

“We are aware that this plot by the NGOs is a disguise of a plot against President Banda’s Government and are just using Dr Chiluba’s case to achieve their hidden agenda,” Mr Mwamba said.

Mr Mwamba said following the acquittal, the immunity was automatically restored and those with issues against the former president should seek parliamentary intervention to lift Dr Chiluba’s immunity.

Currently, he said, there was no criminal case against Dr Chiluba as the case in London was a civil matter.

“It’s saddening that the NGOs which are supposed to be protecting human rights are in the forefront abusing the laws,” Mr Mwamba said.

Among the civil society groups were the Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), Non Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC), Women for Change (WfC), Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), Young Leaders Integrity Alliance (YLIA), Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), Citizens Forum (CF), Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA), and Anti-Voter Apathy Project (AVAP).

“We call upon all Zambians who love this country and are worried about corruption to wear black and honk or whistle every Friday at 17:00 hours for 10 minutes. We call upon all ministers and senior Government officials who hate corruption to join in this campaign,” Mr Mulafulafu said.

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