UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says the sequence of current repressive acts in Zambia is reminiscent of the advanced dictatorship of Adolf Hitler in Germany.
And Hichilema has ardently called for action from Zambians against the bad governance and repression in Zambia.
Meanwhile, the opposition leader has charged that the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is a compromised extension of the ruling PF but that the “nonsense” it is perpetrating ought to be stopped.
Addressing journalists at his residence in New Kasama area in Lusaka yesterday, Hichilema regretted that Zambia had lost values which were fought for at independence.
“We have lost the very values that we fought for independence. We have lost freedoms and it is beginning to be normal – it appears normal in the eyes of a clique in PF. We are drifting away from what is legal and what is illegal is beginning to look normal! We have completely lost the freedom of assembly and if you are not a surrogate of PF, you’ll not be allowed to assemble, that’s a fact. You will not be allowed to hold a meeting in a hotel [and] this is the reason you are seated here (at his residence); we don’t enjoy calling you here. But we are here because…,” Hichilema said.
“We used to meet very often at Chainama Hotel but that business will not be allowed to allow us to meet there. You try to go to InterContinental Hotel or anywhere, those businesses are afraid [because] they are told ‘do not host the UPND.’ Why would do someone take away our fundamental rights?”
He said it was sad that President Edgar Lungu was administering over a regime that was perpetrating loss of media freedoms.
“But the law says we must have freedom of the press…What crime has Prime Television committed? We have been saying ‘it’s okay; it a Prime Television issue, it’s okay it’s a Post and Fred M’membe issue even if they shut The Post’. Then it was The Post, then Muvi TV, thereafter Komboni radio, then it was Itezhi tezhi radio and today it is Prime Television! What sort of human beings are these? Who was The Post serving? It is Zambians and it didn’t matter whether they criticised you today; that’s how it is supposed to be! But The Post brought out issues that protected all of us. But The Post is today gone. That is what Hitler was doing; today he says ‘I’m going to clean communists and socialists out of Germany’ and he did that. Many people, including Jews, were saying that ‘I’m not a communist and so, it’s okay. Then he went for the Jews and non-Jews said ‘I’m not a Jew’. Later on, he went for Germans that did not have a certain colour of the eyes! That is what is happening here!” Hichilema said.
And Hichilema assertively urged Zambians to unite to curtail the PF government’s misrule.
“Today, I’m emphatically calling for action to all the people of Zambia. Are you not suffering? I’m calling for action to stop all these things in this government; corruption, brutality, abuse of our freedoms and everything that is going bad. I did say that there are now journalists for PF and journalists for others. But what I’m saying is that you must all be journalists for the profession. The call to action to us seated here is that protect each other, the call to action is that when there is a peaceful demonstration, let us go there. When MPs are being harassed in Parliament, you must stand with them and to you MPs, when people outside Parliament are harassed, don’t say ‘I’m an honourable’. What is honorable in a dishonourable country? Let’s support each other,” Hichilema said.
He further reiterated that the Independent Broadcasting Corporation (IBA) was being run by political cadres who were determined to serve the interests of the ruling PF.
“We have cadres that are running the IBA and are acting in the interests of PF. The Republican Constitution was designed by the people but we have cadres in the IBA who are not acting in the interests of Zambians. The IBA is an arm of the PF [and] I put it to the public and the nation and they must stop this nonsense forthwith! And Kampamba [Mulenga, the information minister] says HH is interfering with the operations of the IBA…Niwebo weulechita interfere (it’s you who is interfering) with the IBA,” Hichilema explained.
“I know Josephine Mapoma (the IBA director general) and I knew her when she was a decent professional. But Josephine, this is unacceptable! You cannot chair the IBA and use the IBA to serve people in PF because you are there to serve the people of Zambia. Stop what you are doing! I call on Zambians to stop saying that this is a Prime Television issue. When The Post was closed, Zambians were saying ‘it’s Fred M’membe issue’ and what institution did they use? They used the ZRA but I say to ZRA that please remember that you work for the people of Zambia, you don’t work for [Edgar] Lungu – let alone, in terms of the police, working for people like Steven Kampyongo.”
He also lamented that there was selective application of the public order Act such that “PF thugs carry guns and can shoot at anyone because they know that there is nothing that can happen to them.”
Hichilema said there was now a nationally accepted view that there was deep-rooted corruption under President Lungu’s regime.
Earlier, UPND national chairman Mutale Nalumango charged that “we are in a Zambia that is unrecognizable”.
“We are in a Zambia that 10 years ago, one would not have thought we would be here; were not in a democratic country, a growing democracy and those of age and a little longer, expected us to get better today. The application of the public order Act is not just repressive – if it was, it would be so to everyone. It is so selective!” said Nalumango.
“Today Patriotic, Front cadres demonstrate anywhere, can hold a meeting anywhere and can do anything anywhere without being arrested. But the rest of us, particularly the UPND that gives the PF sleepless nights, can’t be allowed [to hold political meetings]. This is not the Zambia that we want and Zambians, wake up! Don’t keep [on] watching and speak against oppression. There is oppression in our country and we should not allow, Zambians.”
Joe Mwale, Major Richard Kachingwe, secretary general Steven Katuka, party spokesperson Charles Kakoma and a horde of UPND members of parliament attended the briefing.