ZITUKULE Consortium, an institution that promotes good governance and human rights, says it is opposed to the on-going consultations by the PF government on whether or not Zambia should withdraw its membership of the International Criminal Court.
In a statement, consortium board chairperson Partner Siabutuba stated that the mandate of the ICC was in line with other human rights standards, which sought to protect citizens from excesses of those who hold political power and to which Zambia was a signatory.
“It is a known fact that the State is the biggest violator of human rights and mechanisms like the ICC are there to provide checks, restraint and punish the offending State and its agents for committing such excesses. It is therefore not only surprising but also defies logic that the state, which by design and nature, is the chief violator of human rights, would be the one seeking to withdraw from this accountability mechanism,” Siabutuba stated.
He stated that the manner in which the whole issue was being handled raised more questions.
“How is the ordinary Zambian being affected by Zambia’s current membership to the ICC? How will Zambia’s withdrawal from the ICC help to improve the human rights situation for millions of Zambians, which currently is deteriorating? What criteria did government use to determine districts where consultations would be conducted? Why is government resisting engaging an independent consultant to collect and validate citizen’s submissions?
Zitukule holds the view that the outcome of this consultation has been pre-determined, making the on-going consultations a mere academic exercise,” Siabutuba stated.
He stated that it was shocking that while the government had repeatedly denied holding a referendum for the expanded bill of rights because of the so-called financial challenges, money had been found to finance an academic exercise whose outcome was predetermined.
“Zambians should unite and stop the PF government from going on with such intentions which would set a bad precedent for the protection of fundamental rights in Zambia,” stated Siabutuba.