By: Anthony Bwalya.
The United States government of Donald J. Trump has subtly but sternly circulated a decisive warning to the Patriotic Front (PF) and President Edgar Lungu against interfering in the process leading up to the 2021 general election.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his letter addressing upcoming elections in Africa and dated 8 October 2020, makes it categorically clear that the US will not hesitate to punish individuals who deliberately conspire to jeopardize the integrity of elections.
The US government assert, that elections are not only important for a country like Zambia and Africa, but also important to ALL defenders of democracy around the world.
Specifically, the US government has cited systematic repression and intimidation of political opponents of the incumbent; and further cites actions that deliberately interferes with people’s constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression as being pillars of any democracy.
The need to adhere to the rule of law and apply the law equally and equitably to and for all political players has also been cited as one area under the watch of all defenders of democracy around the world.
The country is reminded, that ALL country intelligence reports around the 2021 general election have predicted that the PF regime will increasingly become heavy handed and desperate as they attempt to hold on to political power which is fast slipping away from them.
We have already seen how the PF regime has been quick to spend debt money on procuring military hardware as they prepare to crack down on political opponents.
We have seen political opponents of the PF being denied permits to mass assemble, while the PF itself go around the country mobilizing.
The PF have also demonstrated to possess a sophisticated ability to perpetrate complex political violence using terrorism tactics, not only against political opponents, but Zambians at large. This is why the PF regime have refused to thoroughly investigate the gassing saga.
But the PF regime and Edgar Lungu are reminded, that many members of the regime are ALREADY on the radar in the US for money laundering as they have been moving large chunks of US denominated currency around the world in various corruption related schemes.
Let me also make haste and mention, that all actions of vote buying, bribery and the use of DMMU by the PF to win elections amounts to interference and will also be punished.
Zambians have suffered enough and Zambians will not allow another stolen election next year.
This is why we are all united in speaking up against an ECZ that is increasingly becoming complicit in all attempts to subvert democracy in Zambia.
If the PF will do anything foolish to illegally tilt the balance of the 2021 general election, the response from both Zambians and the international community will be decisive.
Allow Free Expression and Free Assembly in Upcomjng Elections – USA
US Department of State
Upcoming Elections in Africa
MICHAEL R. POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE
OCTOBER 8, 2020
The United States is committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections.
The conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world.
We believe all sides should participate peacefully in the democratic process.
Repression and intimidation have no place in democracies.
The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and association are at the heart of a functioning democracy.
Adherence to these democratic norms and to the rule of law allows all citizens to engage in political dialogue and support their choice of candidates, parties, and platforms.
We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election-related violence. As long-time partners to the nations of Africa, we care about the region’s democratic trajectory and are committed to working constructively with international and regional partners.