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Edgar, reign over your violent cadres

Dora Siliya says the disruption of radio programmes featuring Hakainde Hichilema in Muchinga Province by suspected PF cadres is embarrassing the government.

“Government is deeply disturbed by reports of interference in the programming of some radio stations in Mpika and Chinsali districts, where some broadcast programmes have reportedly been disrupted and some unlawful directives ordered. Government wishes to place on record that there are laws in place, with very specific provisions of who has authority, to regulate broadcasting in the country. The IBA Act provides for every citizen, whether in their official or individual capacity, who feels aggrieved by the conduct of any broadcasting station to lodge a complaint to the IBA. The procedure clearly provided in sections 34 to 37. It is, therefore, total violation of the IBA Act, and an embarrassment to the Government and its leadership, for any person to procure other people to storm a radio station and disrupt a broadcast programme or to order a broadcast station to broadcast in certain manner. Government condemns, in the strongest terms, reported incidents involving some suspected PF cadres who attempted to stop a radio programme on Muchinga Radio that featured the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema. Government also condemns the incident in Mpika district where Mr. Hichilema is reported to have been barred from featuring on Mpika Community Radio. The two unfortunate incidents have no blessings from government. Government remains committed to the promotion of citizens’ rights, including the right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed in the national Constitution, provided that the freedom is exercised within the confines of the law,” says Dora.

So, Edgar Lungu’s government is raising alarm – it’s embarrassed by the violent actions of its cadres! For how long have opposition leaders and civil society organisations complained about the violence and impunity by PF cadres?

Chishimba Kambwili, Hakainde, Harry Kalaba have all been victims of PF violence but have we seen any arrests? Not too long ago, known PF cadres stormed and disrupted a public discussion at Hotel InterContinental. Has there been any strong condemnation of this violence from Edgar or any key leaders of the Patriotic Front? Any arrests? Nothing. Why? The truth is Edgar condones this violence because it is part of his political methods or doctrine – crushing those who try to stand in his way like a tonne of bricks! We can actually fairly conclude that Patriotic Front youths are violent because their leader, Edgar, is violent and inspires them to violence. Ultimately, they have created a type of very dangerous cadres who now even they themselves are scared of. Indeed, no one is safe in Zambia today, including themselves.

Already, it looks like the statement Dora issued as chief government spokesperson has been overruled by simple PF cadres in Muchinga Province. Barely a few hours after Dora issued that statement, PF Muchinga provincial chairman Alex Sumuwelu was calling the place a no go area for the opposition.

“…We therefore wish to strongly caution all opposition politicians including Mr Sammy ‘Chintomfwa’ Hichilema that no radio station in the Province will be allowed to carry out any political programming in the Province when we are in the heat of the battle with COVID-19. We are not being undemocratic. We are being reasonable! During this period, only two themes will be entertained in Muchinga Province: (I) COVID-19 sensitisation programmes; (II) Development programmes. Any other kind of programming at this time of war is anarchy. The people of Muchinga do not deserve this anarchy. The people of Muchinga will not entertain such reckless irresponsibility,” Alex declared.

What law are these morons standing on to defy the Constitution of our land which provides for freedom of speech and freedom of expression? Who has given them such powers to even contradict a cabinet minister and chief government spokesperson? A minister has got stipulated powers provided for in our Constitution. So, which power is Alex banking on? It is Edgar’s abuse of his executive powers that his cadres are banking on. Edgar has been the chief architect of all the violence from PF that has rocked this country since 2015 when he took over from Michael Sata.

As we have stated before, there’s urgent need to confront this challenge directly and earnestly. What is happening is a result of the impunity this government has allowed in the country. Patriotic Front cadres have maimed and killed people with total impunity. And this culture of impunity is taking root. This is how much this government of Edgar and the Patriotic Front has destroyed our country. It won’t be easy to change this. It will require tremendous effort to change things. The worry though is that Edgar doesn’t know peaceful politics. His politics are totally anchored on violence. And he can’t conceal his violent nature in his daily speeches. His language is always that of threats. A violent leader will always have violent followers.

We hope the ‘embarrassing’ events in Muchinga are a wakeup call on the PF to reign over their cadres – from top to bottom. Otherwise, very soon, these cadres will turn on Edgar when they are done with their perceived enemies. The time to crush this monster called violence in PF is now.

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