THE Civil Society Constitution Agenda has urged individuals who want to express solidarity with Hakainde Hichilema as he appears before police today in Ndola to do so without fear or favour as doing so peacefully is their democratic right.
CiSCA chairman Bishop Mambo in a statement stated that the PF government should respect freedoms of expression.
He stated that the trumpets of warnings being sounded by the Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo, against opposition members who have interest to show solidarity to Hichilema was an affront to the thriving, healthy multiparty democracy in the country.
Kampyongo last week warned individuals without any role at Hichilema’s questioning to stay away as police would not tolerate it.
“The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) is concerned with the spirit of intolerance and selective tolerance in the enjoyment of political rights in the political sphere currently prevailing in the country. This is so because barely a week after the same minister remained mute at demonstration staged and organised by ruling party sympathisers against the opposition leader, the police and himself are now threatening counter solidarity march for the opposition leader,” Bishop Mambo stated.
“Where is freedom of expression for all citizens in Zambia if only a few sympathetic to the party in power are expressly allowed to demonstrate by the police and the minister? Where is the separation of roles if the minister can be in the forefront of violating the right of citizens to express themselves? To whom will the aggrieved go to complain against the violation of their right to expression if the minister, who is the last line of defence of freedoms is already taking a stance?”
Bishop Mambo stated that CiSCA has not supported the summoning of Hichilema.
He stated that the conduct of the government and police had the potential to undermine the relative peace, unity and harmony in the country.
“CiSCA, therefore, does not support the summoning and the consequent pending interrogation of the UPND leader over the ZAFFICO sale because this action by police and government has potential to undermine the relative peace, unity and harmony currently prevailing in the country. If the UPND leader lied in his statements about ZAFFICO sale as claimed by the government, the right thing the government should do is to seek legal action against him rather than using the police to intimidate, harass and violate citizens’ rights and freedoms to expression and solidarity. The police have a responsibility to protect all citizens, regardless of political affiliation,” he stated.
“We, therefore, we condemn in the strongest terms possible the police actions to revive old political wounds which have potential to undermine the pending national dialogue and reconciliation. We further encourage those who would want to offer solidarity to the UPND leader to do so without fear or favour as doing so peacefully is their democratic right and freedom as enshrined in the Zambian constitution,” stated Bishop Mambo.