By Maiko Zulu
The reflections of United States Charge d’ Affaires to Zambia David Young on Freedom of Expression and general degradation of democracy in Zambia highlight the trauma that many Zambians go through at the hand of the militarised government of President Lungu.
Unlike the post 1991when under Fredrick Chiluba when Zambia was the flag carrier of democracy and media freedoms on the continent, today the country is a complete shadow of its former self with media houses opting not to report on anything that might be perceived as anti-establishment just to safeguard their broadcasting licence.
People’s freedoms to freely express themselves on governance issues or to hold free protests are constantly threatened by the selective application of the Public Order Act by the ruling party controlled Police Service.
This morning we woke up to yet another dose of sponsored anarchy when suspected political party thugs caused mayhem at a named graveyard. This follows recent open attacks on media houses hosting opposition politicians. We are back in dictatorial days when one had to look around before expressing their views and therefore the remarks by the United States envoy should be viewed as a clear sign of oppressive governance. There is degradation of law and order. There is no freedom if politicians are going to create ‘No-Go’ areas for other citizens.
The solution to all these unfortunate occurrences lie largely in the hand of our leader President Edgar Lungu. The President is not only leader of the entire nation but also leader of one of the parties that are at the forefront of the violence and political intolerance that is being witnessed in the country. I sincerely believe that if President Lungu was not capitalising on the anarchy unfolding, then he has the power to stop it.
Today Zambians are afraid, scared to death in their own country because political hooligans have taken over the streets and even the Courts of Law. However, no one should take the peaceful citizens for granted because once your life is threatened then you have no choice but to protect it by any means necessary. We only have one Zambia so let us not allow anyone to set it on fire because of the desire to either stay in power or get into power.