In denying opposition political parties permits to hold rallies, the police have been citing security concerns as the reason.
But what security threats are these?
The personal political insecurities of Edgar Lungu have been turned into a national security matter.
The possibility of Edgar’s political standing being undermined by opposition political rallies cannot be used as a national security threat.
There’s great fear of opposition political rallies undermining Edgar’s popularity. But what’s wrong with that?
Weakening the ruling party’s hold on power through criticism at political rallies is an important function or role of opposition. This puts those in power on their toes to do good, the right thing. And indeed that is the purpose of having opposition political parties.
It’s the duty of opposition political parties to make those in government work hard and deliver to the electorate and earn their continued stay in power.
Fear of being politically undermined by what is said and demonstrated at political rallies should not be the basis for denying the opposition the fundamental right to assemble and express itself.
And as Dr Fred M’membe aptly put it, “This is not the way to administer a multiparty political dispensation. There are too many unjustifiable obstacles being placed on meaningful opposition to operate efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner. We know that the ruling party has never hidden its preference for a one party state. But the current Constitution of the Republic of Zambia is anchored on multiparty democracy. Trying to introduce a one party state by the back door is a serious violation of the Constitution.
We urge those in government to seek legal and constitutional ways of realising their desire of staying in power longer or forever. Trying to do so by violating the Constitution and the fundamental rights of citizens will backfire and put them in serious legal and political problems. We know they are desperate to remain in power in 2021 but let them carefully manage their desperation. Repression, tyranny, intolerance and brutality have never been recipes for governing well. There’s need to level the political play field and let the most deserving political party win.”