Zambia Eagle Editorial
30th September 2020
THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY MUST ACT ON ZAMBIA NOW AND NOT TOMORROW.
The Diplomatic Community in Lusaka have a special advantage to witness a disaster unfolding right before their eyes, which generations long after they leave this country will be amazed at how they let it happen, without intervention. How will it feel 20 years down the line that Ambassador or High Commissioner so and so, from this or that country, occupied a front row seat as the Zambian government prepared to sink a once prosperous and vibrant country into the doldrums of history?
Signals that President Edgar Lungu and his cohorts are about to mutilate an entire election by manipulating institutions of governance to their advantage, is succinctly clear. Zambians are confused and tramautized because historically successive Zambian governments have superintendented peace and hope on the people, than the current regime that is ironically displaying weapons of war on citizens as a prelude to law and order. To expect Zambians to hit the streets demonstrating under this repressive atmosphere may be far fetched, but does that prevent a well meaning and alert Diplomatic Corps from acting to salvage the situation? Where is their collective political will?
Zambian credentials are impeccable in the region and beyond. The country was once a cradle of hospitability that offered solace and hope for people fleeing from dictatorship and genocide. This former reputation is exactly why the International community must not fold their arms and watch a government preparing to murder its own citizens, by use of a militarized police, just to stay in power. Surely they can rescue a country that once rescued refugees and the outcasts.
Is this too much to ask from a country that once suffered relentless bombings and incursions from racist forces that once surrounded it’s neighbourhood, because of its cherished values for freedom for the oppressed on account of skin colour? Thousands of Zambians perished from liberation wars while others still die from unexploded ordnances that still litter the Zambian forests.
The Diplomatic community must guarantee a free and fair election by pressuring President Edgar Lungu to adhere to the constitutional requirements. The Electoral Commission of Zambia must hold fast to the interests of all stakeholders and not only the ruling party. The old voters’ roll must not be decimated but new voters incorporated into its records. President Edgar Lungu must immediately demilitarize the civil Police and assure citizens that he will not use it to violate their liberties.
The Diplomatic community must encourage South Africa which has the greatest stake in Zambia’s economy to pressure Lungu to allow democracy to flourish. It’s to the best interest of South Africa to ensure their investment in Zambia does not go up in flames if peace is compromised, but most importantly to reciprocate to the people of Zambia that stood with them when it was not politically correct to do that. This is no longer a political matter associated to one or two political organisation, this is a matter for survival for Zambia as a unitary state. The Diplomatic community must act now and not tomorrow.