What is happening to Zambia right now is embarrassing, detrimental and bad for the economy; but it could have been avoided. It can still be ameliorated if there was honest leadership in Zambia.
There has been a lot of negative reports on and about Zambia from the time Edgar Lungu caused the unnecessary, vengeful and brutal arrest and eventual detention of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. But the resolution by the European Parliament is something that should concern any one who loves Zambia. It is the first practical step taken by the International Community to save Zambia from Edgar Lungu and his demons. Indeed, the international wheel of justice has been set in motion. Anyone who follows international events can actually predict how this will end. But Lungu still has a chance to man up and remedy this situation before irreparable damage is done.
The negative resolution by the European parliament on Zambia will hence forth determine Zambia’s engagement with the rest of the world. It will be the first point of reference for investors who want to do business in Zambia. Of course the Chinese are excused from this.
Zambia has never attracted such negative attention and publicity from the International Community. Even during Kenneth Kaunda’s one party dictatorship, Zambia was viewed with some degree of respect. Not any more. Instead Zambia is now equated with South Sudan, Ethiopia and other rogue states.
This is the first time that the International Community has put Zambia on red notice; on high alert. This high alert is contained in one of the main resolutions of the European Parliament on Zambia. It states:
‘’[Parliament] calls for the EU to continue to CLOSELY MONITYOR the overall situation in Zambia and to make use of available political means, including through dialogue at the highest level, to ensure that the conditions for the rule of law and democracy, an open political space, free institutions and respect for human rights are MAINTAINED.’
The message in this statement is very clear. If the human and democratic situation in Zambia continues deteriorating, the EU will take other actions. Whoever imagined that one day a foreign parliament will ever issue such a strong statement against Zambia, the peaceful nation?
Yet, we will not be surprised if Lungu will unleash his useful idiots such as Mumbi Phiri, Emmanuel Mwamba, Frank Bwalya and other low-lives to attack the European Parliament and sing about sovereignty and other empty slogans.
The European Parliament is the body that makes binding laws for the entire European Union, currently comprising 27 countries, since the UK is on its way out. The Members of this Parliament, often referred to as MEPs are voted directly by people of Europe. Just the way the Zambian MPs are voted. There are 750 MEPs. This simply means that each citizen of the EU is represented by two MPs, one at the local parliament and the other at the biggest and most powerful parliament at the EU level. The European parliament controls the budget of the entire EU and either approves all rejects all international agreements. So when the European parliament passes a resolution on a country in this case Zambia, all EU countries and institutions will abide by that resolution.
Even countries like the UK which is in the process of leaving the EU can not be expected to disregard the European parliament resolution.
Readers might recall that late in April, British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dye issued a statement that appeared to be endorsing the arrest of HH. A few days later, High Commissioner Cochrane-Dye found himself in London (we hear he was summoned) where he changed his statements on Zambia. Instead he said everyone in UK is worried about the detention of HH.
We expect Lungu and his adherents to up rhetoric about sovereignty. This is not and will never be surprising. All repressive regimes resort to such slogans when challenged. Strictly speaking, Zambia is not even a sovereign country; it is a donor dependent country. Right now, Zambia is on its knees pleading for financial aid from the International Monetary fund. By the way, the EU controls the IMF. One would want to be careful about insulting the EU while extending a borrowing bowl at the IMF. Christine Lagarde, the current managing director of the IMF is a French citizen. The negative resolution on Zambia was passed in the French city of Strasbourg.
Remember also that the European parliament directed that the negative resolution on Zambia be passed forwarded to the EU Council, the EU Commission, the Vice-President of the EU Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Co-Presidents of the African, Caribbean, Pacific and EU (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the African Union Commission and the Pan-African Parliament, the Zambian Government and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Note that the IMF and World Bank are part of the UN systems.
So certainly the IMF will take this resolution as they engage with Zambia next week.
For this fiscal year, Finance Minister Felix Mutati presented a K64.5 billion national budget. Of this budget, K20 billion will be borrowed from other countries. K2.23 billion will come from donor grants while only 42.94 billion will be from domestic sources. How can a sovereign country depend so much on other countries for its main budget?
Why can’t Mutati tell the IMF that Zambia does not need its money because it’s a sovereign country? How can you depend on other people for paying your rent and food but insult them when they question your conduct?
Does Lungu and his followers know how many people would die within a month if the donors withdrew from Zambia?
Zambia can not even manage to supply condoms let alone ARVs to its citizenry without donor funding and you want to insult the people helping you?
Whatever the case, Lungu and his type can sing about sovereignty but that will not change the fact that Zambia is a member of the global community where abusing human rights of Zambians attracts the sanctions of the entire world. The arresting of HH has shown Lungu and his friends that they are not running a 14th century village but a state member of the civilised world.
HH has not committed any crime. He was arrested for refusing to recognise Lungu as duly elected president. The arrest was planned long before the elections. Lungu himself declared before elections that if HH would not accept the results of the elections, he would arrest him. This means that Lungu knew before hand that he was going to rig elections and and that the real winner of elections would not accept.
Lungu and his friends must be careful not to plunge this country into unnecessary civil strife. The truth is that if HH is foolishly convicted of the stupid, political charges he is currently detained for, there will be war in Zambia. This is simply the truth. The current appearance of calmness by HH’s followers should not mislead Lungu. People are quite because they still hope that the courts will do the right thing and refuse to be used by Lungu to jail an innocent person.
We hope at the end, Lungu wont end up like Laurent Gbagbo the former president of Ivory Coast.