National Restoration party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo says there was nothing impartial about UN resident coordinator Janet Rogan’s leaked email as it sounded like her routine way of reporting events.
On Friday, News Diggers published a leaked email which revealed that Rogan told the United Nations Headquarters in New York that opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was expected to be taken out of public visibility, regardless of court proceedings.
Rogan said this in her email to Valeria de Campos Mello who is the Senior Political Affairs Officer at the UN headquarters, which she sent on April 11, 2017, the same day Hichilema was arrested.
She reported that during the Mongu motorcade incident that led to the treason charge, Hichilema deliberately disobeyed police orders to drive faster and pave way for President Lungu, but instead slowed down in order to impede the Head of State from driving past him.
Rogan, who has come under fire for aligning herself with the Patriotic Front, further indicated that Hichilema’s “disrespectful behaviour” was as a result of his refusal to recognise President Lungu as duly elected Head of State.
In her report, the UN country chief never described the manner in which police broke into Hichilema’s house, but mentioned that officers teargased “unruly UPND cadres” who were rioting at Woodlands Police Station.
But in an interview, Chipimo said the email did not sound impartial.
“I don’t think it’s going to have any impact on UN support simply because one of their officials is being verbally questioned with regards to whether or not she was acting impartially or acting in a way that would appear to be partisan. These things are normal where you have this kind of tension and it’s very easy to misconstrue statements that might be made by one side. So I don’t see this affecting any of our relations with the UN. I think it would be a very different story if you had the ruling party making such allegations. The you might feel that there could be some implications to this as regards to UN interactions because the party in power happens to be the one that is being accused of as opposed to the opposition. So I don’t really see any of its short or long term implications. It may just have an impact on whether or not they can, if they want to be a part of the dialogue process. Any party that feels that they have an issue has a right to raise that issue. Whether it’s right or not is a different story. And I think that from what I read from the email that was leaked by your newspaper, I think that the conclusion that has been drawn both by yourselves and by the UPND is quite misleading from the email,” said Chipimo.
“There may be other correspondence that would suggest that there is some impartiality but certainly that email sounds to be quite routine in terms of reporting on events. And if you look at it all in its full context, you will see that you can interpret it either way. But from my point of view, it doesn’t sound impartial.”