Vernon Mwaanga

VERNON Mwaanga has advised President Edgar Lungu to publicly reprimand ministers and PF officials raiding media institutions.

Last week, ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party cadres invaded two radio stations in Muchinga Province that featured opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema via teleconference.

Isoka and Mpika community ratio stations respectively were stopped from going ahead with such programmes because, according to Mpika district commissioner Moses Katebe who is also a PF cadre, the region was a no go area for the opposition.

But Mwaanga, a freedom fighter and veteran politician, has described the incidents as hooliganism.

He wondered why President Lungu should tolerate such inhuman acts when the country was busy fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Ministers and other government and party cadres, should be publicly reprimanded by President Edgar Lungu. They are unfit to remain in government or senior party positions. This fight against the pandemic should not be left to government alone. The world has shown that working together with the private sector and citizens, better results are achieved,” he said in a statement. “Nearly five million people worldwide have been infected by the virus and globally over 325,000 have died and still dying, in hospitals and care homes every day. Let us grow up and show some humanity and a sense of national responsibility for a change. Let us keep politics out of this noble fight. We are better and stronger working together. Some of these culprits are positioning themselves for senior positions in the PF government, but it is my submission, that they are going about it the wrong way.”

Mwaanga said the best person to deal with such lawlessness is President Lungu.

“The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and chief government spokesperson had hardly finished regretting attacks by PF cadres on a private radio station, when another attack occurred. Zambia is not a country of ‘lows’. It is a country of ‘laws’. That is what we the founders of Zambia established and would like to see going forward,” Mwaanga said. “If this hooliganism and lawlessness is allowed to continue by President Edgar Lungu, Zambia will degenerate into anarchy, which we don’t want to see. Our law enforcement agencies must do their job and protect all the people living in Zambia without fear, favour or ill will. We saw this happening during President Mwanawasa’s presidency, because he personally led the anti-violence campaign.”

Mwaanga reminded President Lungu about next year’s general elections which needs a peaceful and fair environment for all participants.

“Strangely, I have heard outrageous statements by government cabinet ministers to the effect that certain opposition leaders are banned from donating COVID-19 resources, to supplement government efforts aimed at slowing down the spread of the pandemic. What kind of nonsense is this?” asked Mwaanga. “In August, 2021, we are going to have tripartite elections as required by our Constitution. We expect to see free, fair, democratic and transparent elections, which meet SADC, AU and UN standards. Every registered political party taking part in the forthcoming general elections, must be free to campaign anywhere in Zambia, without violence or threats of violence. The media must be free to cover all the campaigns and use the public media in equal measure, as they do in newer democracies like South Africa, so that the playing field is level for all. There should be no ‘no go areas’ in Zambia.”

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