OUR beautiful country, Zambia, is without doubt becoming a tinderbox by the day thanks to the failure by some critical governance institutions to operate in a professional manner, says Pepino Kashishi.
Kashishi, a Mufulira based senior citizen, said it was very difficult to understand how and why those managing such critical governance institutions fail to realise that by their failure, they were seriously
jeopardising national interests, including the stability and security of the country.
He lamented that despite assurances that things would be managed professionally and in accordance with the law, the contrary was still true in many areas.
“The protection of the interests of a few powerful individuals at the expense of the interests of the people appear to be the order of the day. The Zambia Police Service, the Electoral Commission of Zambia, ZNBC, the Judiciary, in particular the Constitutional Court, to mention a few, all appear to be conniving to serve the interests of this special group. This is extremely dangerous especially as we move towards the crucial August elections,” Kashishi said.
He noted that the Zambia Police command appeared to run the vital institution of keeping law and order as if it was a wing of the ruling Patriotic Front.
Kashishi said the police appeared to have been assigned to disadvantage opposition political parties at every turn using or abusing the public order Act.
“ECZ has taken an uncompromising stand against opposition political parties ignoring their concerns such as those over the voter registration which has now ended in disenfranchising thousands of eligible voters, particularly in perceived opposition strongholds while the Constitutional Court has been churning out clearly questionable judgments that do not serve public interest on sensitive national issues,” he charged. “Not to be outdone, ZNBC continues on its path of biased coverage in favour of the privileged and powerful as if they are the only ones who fund the operations of this institution. The interests of various other stakeholders, especially opposition political parties are not covered. [But] According to the Constitution, all government authority is derived from the people of Zambia.”
Kashishi said the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, all derive their respective authorities from the people, meaning that they act on behalf of and for the people and “this forms the basis of the country’s governance”.
He wondered why those responsible for various government functions had failed to grasp “this core foundation of the nation’s existence”.
Kashishi condemned the latest attempts to continue to curtail the mobilisation of opposition political parties for the August elections through sponsored violence.
“Where were all those who are now raising the alarm of the danger of spreading this [Corona]virus through campaign rallies when the President, ministers and ruling party functionaries were having super spreader rallies across the country at the very summit of this pandemic in the name of inspecting and, or commissioning developmental projects including empowerment through cash donations and other gifts including the novel one of empowering headmen with jackets across the country? There was no danger then?” Kashishi wondered. “Do our leaders really expect people to believe such politics of deceit? Even if it was true that there is, indeed, a rise in the cases of the pandemic, the message being relayed now of restrictions, many people would find it difficult to appreciate due to what has happened in the past when the ruling elite never observed the health regulations concerning the pandemic they, themselves, had made.”
He noted that the elite consistently and publicly trash the laid down regulations without any sanction.
“I will repeat what many level-headed stakeholders, citizens and institutions, have advised. If institutions of governance mandated to ensure that this country is governed in a democratic manner according to our Constitution especially at this critical hour fail to do so, they will be setting this country for potential civil strife with disastrous consequences,” Kashishi said. “Already some stakeholders feel neglected and left out by institutions that are supposed to be the bastion for and drivers of fairness and justice in the governance of this country to which they are constitutionally entitled.”
He warned that pushed against the wall with no other recourse to justice, such people might resort to other means to seek redress for the perceived injustices against them.
Kashishi said many within and outside Zambia have consistently and persistently cautioned “over this but those responsible have closed their ears and eyes to all such advice”.
“But the truth this is exactly how things played out initially in other countries that are now struggling with instability. These are not fairytales but realities that we have witnessed and continue witnessing even as we now discuss the challenges we are facing in our country,” said Kashishi. “We are truly headed for potentially hallowing times if things continue as they are. I, therefore, appeal to all those who are privileged to be in charge of institutions of governance to search their conscience, reflect on the possible consequences of failing to professionally perform their duties according to the dictates of the laws of this country.”