THE PF has done itself a great deal of harm by running a repressive government where opposition politics are criminalised, observes former secretary to the cabinet Sketchley Sacika. Sacika says when people have been pushed to the wall, no amount of repression, coercion and intimidation would prevent them from dismissing a government which had failed to perform.
He added that the governing PF’s real opposition was not any politician but deterioration of the lives of Zambians, due to an ailing economy.
Sacika called the “harassment” of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema last weekend by police in Ndola as “totally uncalled-for and dangerous.”
“State institutions like the police should not be abused. These institutions should be permitted to operate professionally. If they are politicised, they lose their purpose and meaning. Moreover, the people in government do not have the monopoly…. What is happening in our country is actually dangerous,” Sacika said in an interview.
“The biggest challenge for the Patriotic Front is not HH (Hakainde Hichilema) or CK (Chishimba Kambwili) or HK (Harry Kalaba). Their biggest challenge is the poor performance of the economy, the deteriorating living standards of the people, resulting in very high poverty levels, the inability of the economy to create jobs, the breakdown of the system of governance and the collapse of the social services.”
He told senior officials in the PF government that harassing Hichilema, Kambwili and Kalaba, among other opposition leaders, would not offset entrenched poverty among Zambians.
“The PF has also done itself a great deal of harm by running a repressive government where opposition politics were criminalised and the country has turned into a police State. The persecution of leaders of opposition political parties, the intolerance of the PF to political criticism [and] promotion of tribalism in government are negative elements that Zambians have rejected,” Sacika observed.
“Zambians don’t want to live in a dictatorship or to be divided on tribal lines. They want to live in a country where they can freely enjoy their democratic rights, a country where tribalism and tribal hegemony are not part of the political creed of the government.”
Meanwhile, Sacika indicated that a repeat of 1991 that saw UNIP leave government appeared to be on the horizon.
“The psychology of elections, as I understand it, is that people vote against a ruling party which has failed to perform. In 1991, the people that voted for the MMD had no idea that the MMD will… But they were prepared to vote for them because they wanted change,” he said.
“The PF has a tall mountain to climb! Instead of planning how they are going to dismantle UPND, with the help of one GBM (Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba), the party should be planning how it is going to remove the black spots that characterise the performance of this government so that it can endear itself once again to the people.”
Sacika further noted that Zambians were yearning for an economy which was performing for all, “not an economy which is performing for only two per cent of the population with the access to State resources.”
He cautioned President Edgar Lungu against paying attention to people telling him that everything was okay in the country.
“That is what they told comrade KK (Dr Kenneth Kaunda) in 1991…” noted Sacika.
“When people have been pushed to the wall, no amount of repression, coercion and intimidation will prevent them from dismissing a government which has failed to perform. Those are the realities of the situation! Hunting leaders of opposition political parties like criminals is totally uncalled-for in a country which calls itself a democracy.”