US envoy again complains about selective application of Public Order Act

United States Charge de Affairs David Young to Zambia has again strongly complained about the selective application of the Public Order Act in Zambia when holding meetings.

In one of those strongly and bold statements from the American government, Mr. Young, who is currently the top most diplomat in Zambia, in the absence an Ambassador also complained about lack of action against cadres moving with pangas and machets to brutalise other people.

Mr. Young has called for peace among Zambians.

While PF leaders, particularly Secretary General Wynter Kabimba has been on a free campaign trail to various parts of the country without a police notification or permit, PF government has so far literally banned opposition political parties from holding meetings.

Opposition parties cannot even hold in-door meetings as part of their party mobilisations as the PF police have always moved to disrupt them.

In some instances, PF cadres have intervened to physically disrupt opposition political gatherings.

The Watchdog is in possession of a video interview in which Copperbelt PF provincial Chairman Stardy Mwale categorically stated that for opposition political parties to hold meetings on the Copperbelt, they need permission from him as the leader of the party in government.

We will soon publish this interview here, but it is the first time that a leader of the political party should get permission from a competitor for them to hold meetings.

Last week, MMD president Nevers Mumba was hounded out of Eastern province by PF police when he went to mobilise his supporters.

Over the weekend, a UPND team that went to Chinsali for party mobilisation was equally surrounded by police as early as 05:oo hours at Titanic Lodge and ordered to leave the place as they were not allowed to hold in-door meetings with their members.

Since PF come into power in 2011, freedoms in Zambia have been greatly limited with a number of those perceived to be opponents of the ruling party facing arrests and various cases in court.

Independent Journalists have also been particularly targeted by the PF government, with a number of them now facing trumped-up charges and are now in court for offences such as being in possession of obscene materials, seditious practices, and defamation of the president.

While statements from top diplomats and the international community are indeed welcome, it is perhaps high time they showed more action as the situation of suffocating free space in Zambia by the PF government was really getting out of hand.

For now, we beg that even some form of travel bans for selected PF leaders such as Michael Sata, vice-president Guy Scott, his wife Dr. Kaseba, Wynter Kabimba, Fred Mmembe, Mutembo Nchito, IG Stella Libongani and her deputy Solomon Jere, and others will suffice in sending a strong message to everyone.

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