Statement for Immediate Release !
11 June 2021
UPND APPLAUDS THE STATEMENTS BY THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER AND THE GERMANY AMBASSADOR !
Statements made earlier on this week by the British High Commissioner to Zambia, His Excellency Nicholas Woollley, to the media, and the Germany Ambassador to Zambia, Her Excellency Anne Wagner-Mitchell, in her address to journalists, are commendable, and must be taken very seriously by the PF leadership, as both statements emphasised the critical need for a level playing field during the ongoing electoral process.
The British High Commissioner must be applauded for rightly noting that “it’s not fair, you can’t stop opposition rallies, but ask people to attend government events”. A government event is indeed as much of a gathering as a rally, hence President Lungu and the PF must stop blinding people by the choice of terminology. Indeed a level playing field, as the Germany Ambassador rightly pointed out, is a critical pre requisite for free and fair elections, and hence President Lungu and the PF must stop denying the opposition equal Democratic space during the ongoing electoral process, for failure to do so is most likely to lead to tension and instability in the country.
We are encouraged that Zambia’s partners are closely following events as they unfold. However, be that as it may, given that this is a regime that is determined to retain power by hook or crook, we call upon the international community to continue to closely monitor the electoral process, and to apply pressure as need arises so as to ensure a free and fair electoral process. We appeal for more pressure to be exerted on the PF regime because words alone, have so far failed to make the required impact on the conduct of President Lungu and the PF.
We are seriously concerned that despite repeated calls by the international community including the United Nations, appealing for a level electoral playing field for all political players, the PF remains unphased and unrepentant in its ways.
This is not the first time that an appeal has been made by members of the international commmunity to the PF Government to respect the core values of democracy, particularly during the ongoing electoral process. Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, the EU and the United Nations have all issued similar statements in the recent past but to no avail.
If there was ever any flicker of hope by the international community that the PF would take heed of its wise counsel, that hope must now be put to rest, as the international community must have by now come to realise that they are flogging a dead horse. The PF will not abandon its ways so easily, hence the need for the international community to do more by bringing pressure to bear on the PF regime. The international community should not wait as the case was in Uganda and Brazzaville, the time to act is now !
It has become crystal clear that words alone have failed to make any impact, hence the need to do more !