Elections without real choices

Next year’s elections will not give the Zambian people real choices if those in government are allowed to continue restricting the opposition’s freedom of assembly and expression.

It’s not possible for the Zambian people to make informed choices when they are not permitted to meet and listen to all the political players’ ideas on how the country should be governed.

Edgar Lungu and his minions have made it extremely difficult for the opposition to hold meetings and rallies while they themselves are busy going round the country holding meetings without inhibitions.

This is the worst it has been since the reintroduction of multiparty in December 1990. Even the one party state was better than this.

It doesn’t make sense for governments and organisations that claim to be promoting and defending democracy to be financing elections that are clearly undemocratic.

We therefore welcome Germany’s expression of concern over the shrinking democratic space in Zambia.

In a joint press statement signed by Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba and head division for Southern Africa and head of German delegation Alois Schneider in Lusaka on the Zambia- Germany bilateral negotiation on development cooperation, Schneider highlighted the importance of protecting freedom of expression and assembly in the run-up to the 2021 elections.

The Zambian government and Germany, on Wednesday, successfully concluded negotiations on development cooperation partnership for promoting good governance, transparency and better service delivery.

Germany has committed over 46 million euros to Zambia aimed at promoting citizens’ participation, transparency, access to justice, decentralisation, food security and nutrition, water and sanitation.

“As Germany expressed concerns about shrinking democratic space and highlighted the importance of protecting freedom of expression and assembly in the run-up to the 2021 elections, both sides reaffirmed the importance of good governance and the promotion and preservation of democracy and fundamental human rights,” read the statement in part.

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