WE used to have strong voices from the Church, student bodies, labour movement, NGOs but all these are now gone, observes Luxon Kazabu.
Agreeing with Jack Kalala, the former Nkana PF member of parliament and deputy livestock and fisheries minister under Michael Sata administration said even the University of Zambia students’ union was at one time a forceful voice for the poor.
Kalala, a former special assistant for policy and project implementation and monitoring to late president Levy Mwanawasa on Monday questioned the silence of ‘powerful’ nations over President Edgar Lungu’s abuse of human rights in the country.
Kazabu said he expected responses from diplomats over the country’s degrading democratic credentials.
“In the past, issues of governance were very critical to diplomats, the donor community as well as the European Union. I hope we will get a response from the diplomats as to why they are silent. My interest is with interest groups that in the past acted as pressure groups,” he said. “These include the labour movement, the student groups in higher institutions of learning, and the Church. Has everybody gone into some conspiracy of silence? You mean that they are not seeing the wrongs that are there today where the police can go and harass villagers in Shibuyunji? Now we here, citizens are being abducted (in reference to Tom Silwiindi, a UPND supporter of Choma who was allegedly abducted by police).”
Kazabu expressed particular concern about the complete silence of trade unions.
He said such silence amidst visible financial irregularities and human rights abuses in the country should worry everyone.
“What has gone wrong with the labour movement especially the mother body, ZCTU (Zambia Congress of Trade Unions)? We used to have strong voices from the Church, strong voices from the labour movement, strong voices from student bodies, but all these are now gone,” Kazabu noted.
He remembered his days of activism as a university student in the UNIP government.
“It is on record that I was one of those that attended a meeting at State House chaired by Dr Kenneth Kaunda because we used to voice out on behalf of the poor. What has changed?” Kazabu asked. “Students are intellectuals who understand issues and they owe a debt to Zambians to stand up and speak against any wrongs going on. But now it is a tragedy.”
Kazabu wondered if all the silent social groupings have witnessed an outbreak of cash from PF members which they are donating everywhere.
“Mwati namushimona impiya tulemona pa social media (have you really seen the money we are seeing on social media)? Where is the money coming from? Now leaders are even buying helicopters. Where in Zambia, ba Edwin? I cry for my beloved country, Zambia,” Kazabu said. “It is wrong. Surely it is unprecedented because the PF is not the first government we have had and we have never seen what we are seeing today.”
Asked if it was likely that the government could have printed money, Kazabu said any normal thinking person would suspect such.
“Because where are these stacks of money coming from? It is harmful to the economy because it is not backed by any value in terms of goods and services produced and provided by businesses,” said Kazabu.