SENIOR chief Mukuni says the PF government is courting possible disaster for the nation by stopping NRC issuance in Southern Province.
He says the denying of NRCs to the people of Southern Province is a crime against humanity that one will have to answer for in future.
“The battle for change does not lie in denying citizens instruments to effect change, but through persuasion,” Mukuni said.
In a statement, Mukuni of the Toka Leya people of Kazungula, Livingstone and Zimba districts said the PF government’s decision to stop NRC issuance exercise in the province was outrageous.
“The NRC is not only a document for voting. It is also a document to all citizens to enter the job market, for others to access credit for their small businesses, while for cross border entrepreneurs to enable them obtain passports to import goods to grow their business and feed their families,” he said. “These options have been stopped by the government that seems terrified by its own shadow, this to say is unacceptable. The home affairs minister [Stephen Kampyongo] must not perpetuate this act because he is a direct custodian of the law and order. He would do well to play that role for the interest of peace in this country. If the purpose of stopping the issuance of NRCs by the government through home affairs is to deny citizens their right to vote, then let them be counseled that they are courting possible trouble for the nation.”
Mukuni said the decision by the government to terminate the issuance of NRCs in Southern Province was shocking and disgraceful as it has never happened in the country’s history.
“This decision by the government should be called out by its rightful term: a criminal act that is meant to deny people their right to be citizens of a sovereign state,” he said. “A responsible government will recognise that other than being a human right, voting is a relief valve for citizens who have all forms of grievances that they want addressed and when you shut this constitutional right, you create a dangerous condition of bottled up anger in citizens that soon or later explodes. I, therefore, appeal to the donor, diplomatic community, civil society organisations, labour, student bodies and more importantly the Church to mount pressure on the government and let citizens have NRCs.”
Mukuni said the NRC was a constitutional threshold to becoming a fully documented citizen and should not be denied for political reasons.
“It is a crime against humanity of which someone will be answerable to sometime in future,” he said.
He said the desire for change could not be stopped by any force.
Mukuni said the PF was creating a condition of a possible disaster by denying NRCs to the people of Southern Province.
“The government must understand that the battle for change does not lie in denying citizens certain instruments to effect change, it lies in the power of persuasion. If the desire of any people is to effect change, that battle is beyond any government, including one with nuclear power or police armoured vehicles.”