THE National Democratic Congress NDC has urged the American government not to cut Aid to Zambia following the Zambian government’s decision to hand back fleeing Zimbabwean opposition politician to his pursuers.
But Association for Community Action director Laura Miti has urged the US government to impose a travel ban on President Edgar Lungu’s leadership because cutting aid would only hurt ordinary Zambians.
The United States has wondered why Zambia chose to hand over Biti to the Zimbabwean authorities when there was a court order blocking his expulsion from Zambia.
the US government stated it would be reviewing certain aspects of “our cooperation with the Zambian government”.
“We are also deeply concerned that Zambia chose to hand over former minister of finance Tendai Biti to the Zimbabwean authorities, and in the face of a reported Zambian court order blocking his expulsion from Zambia,” it stated.
“This decision is particularly disheartening given the courage that Zambia showed in sheltering thousands of Zimbabwean freedom fighters from Rhodesian aggression in the days of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle. We will be discussing this matter with Zambia’s leaders and reviewing certain aspects of our cooperation with the Zambian government.”
In Washington D.C, the United States summoned the ambassadors of both Zimbabwe and Zambia to “register our gravest concerns”.
Musenge in a statement stated that his party agreed with the US that Zambian authorities mishandled the matter involving Biti.
“Zambian authorities clearly abrogated international laws and protocols when they handed back Mr Biti to Zimbabwean authorities against his will. Zambian authorities should have allowed Mr Biti, a senior figure of the opposition MDC party, to exit Zambia to a country of his own choice,” Musenge stated.
He stated that his party feared that if the Americans cut aid to Zambia, ordinary citizens would suffer.
He noted that the US gives Zambia in excess of over Three Hundred Million U.S dollars annually as support to various sectors.
“As a country, we cannot afford to lose such support. In this regard, we urge Zambian authorities to apologise to the international community for mishandling the matter involving Tendai Biti. President Edgar Lungu should equally institute appropriate disciplinary action against technocrats for ill advising him on the matter involving Mr Biti,” Musenge stated.
“Looking at the statement from the U.S state department, it is clear that the Americans are not happy with the governance system in Zambia.
We urge the U.S government and other Western nations to exert more pressure on the Lungu regime so that they start respecting governance institutions.”
Musenge stated that latest political trends in the country clearly indicate that Zambia was slowly drifting into a one party state.
“There’s a break down in the rule of law and we want the international community to intervene in this regard,” he stated.
“As NDC, we are worried that the PF regime is decimating and muzzling the opposition. The opposition are never given an opportunity to freely address political gatherings. The Public Order Act is selectively applied and only favours the governing PF. Members of the opposition are being threatened and intimidated.”
Musenge stated that the PF regime had gone further and was now buying off opposition members to prevent them from participating in elections.
“We have in mind the recent happenings in Kasenengwa Constituency where two major political groupings, the NDC and UPND, were ‘prevented’ from filling in nominations,” Musenge stated. “As a party, we urge the American Government to step in and serve this country before we revert to a one party state. Governance institutions in this country have stopped functioning.”
Musenge stated that the PF was using the Judiciary and police to instill fear and intimidate opposition political groupings and well meaning NGOs.
He welcomed the move by the American government to summon the Zambian ambassador to the USA over Biti treatment.
But Miti yesterday said the United States government should only punish Zambian government leaders by instituting a travel ban on everyone with a diplomatic passport.
She urged the US government to spare the poor citizens who rely on their support.
In her Facebook posting, Miti urged the US government to use a targeted missile.
“Dear America, if you are going to punish Zambia for lawlessness that defies court orders, please don’t touch aid. Don’t touch ARVs. That will hurt innocent poor people. The lawless ones won’t feel an aid ban. They will continue to live the good life. I have a suggestion for you, one that will really hurt. Just institute a travel ban on everyone with a diplomatic passport,” Miti stated.
“Now that would be squeezing them. You have no idea how they love the airport, these lawless ones. If you take Washington, New York, and especially the UN annual jamboree – where they go for boat cruises using our money – away from them, I swear they will cry. You can even send all their children back to Zambian universities. Freeze any accounts they have there. When you are done, ask your cousins in England to do the same. Don’t worry about China. They don’t want to go to Beijing. They only go there to sell our country.”
Miti stated that New York, London and Paris were places where Zambian government leaders go to ‘blow’ the proceeds of auctioning Zambia.
“Our fire truck, medicine, road tolls money – all comes there. So you can save us money by sending them ‘back to sender’ like they did to Tendai Biti. Please, please America, punish them but don’t punish our poor,” stated Miti.