JACK Kalala says the conduct of Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja and Zambia Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Michael David Muma is unbecoming and unprofessional.
The former special assistant to president Levy Mwanawasa said it was clear that government institutions were being used to prevent opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from campaigning.
“Zambia is scheduled to hold general elections on 12th August 2021. All political parties are supposed to meet the electorate to tell them their plans for the nation to help the voters to make an informed decision but the PF is using government institutions to restrict the main opposition party, UPND, from campaigning. Zambia Police (ZP), Zambia Air Force and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) are being used to frustrate the UPND campaigns by stopping the leader, HH, from going out as his opponent President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (ECL) and his running mate Professor Nkandu Luo are doing,” Kalala said.
“What is happening is like having two boxers in the ring with one having his hands tied with a rope behind his back while the other has all his hands free. Would that be a fair fight? Not at all! As national institutions, the Zambia Police and Zambia Air Force should stay away from partisan politics. Their role and focus should be to ensure that security and stability prevail in the country. They should ensure that every citizen is protected and his rights are also protected.”
He said Parliament was dissolved 90 days before the elections to allow parties to campaign.
“This is done to create a status of equality among political parties participating in the elections. There is no party in power during the campaign period so that the ground is leveled for all political players,” Kalala said. “ZAF, ZP, ECZ and others are national institutions that are there to serve the nation and the people of Zambia with impartiality and to protect their rights, their lives and properties.”
He said the people working for government institutions were paid by the treasury and not by the party in power.
Kalala said the contributors to the national treasury were all the citizens of Zambia regardless of their political affiliation, tribe or skin colour.
“National public institutions are there to serve and protect the nation and the Constitution. The people who have the honour and privilege to serve in these institutions are not expected to have partisan attitudes in discharging their official duties. They are not supposed to exhibit partisan alignment in the execution of their duties,” he said.
Kalala said it was “absolutely wrong” for Kanganja, Lt Gen Muma and ECZ chairperson justice Esau Chulu to be seen to favour PF and President Edgar Lungu, and to discriminate against any opposition leader.
He insisted that the trio’s work attitude was to be fair and just referees and linesmen in enforcing the rules of the game.
“They should ensure that all the players abide by the rules of the game. They should be professional and impartial in the execution of their duties. By taking sides as they are doing now, they are failing in their duties and risking national security,” he said. “They are making citizens to lose confidence in the public institutions that they are administering, which is not good for the security and stability of our nation.”
Kalala said Zambia’s men and women in uniform should remain apolitical and focus on their noble duty to serve the nation with honour and integrity as they have always done.
“They should emulate their colleagues in the USA. When president Donald Trump was defeated, he attempted to seek the intervention of the service chiefs to maintain him in power following his defeat. They categorically and firmly refused to do an illegal thing. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Alexander Milley, stated that their loyalty was to the Constitution of the United States of America and not to any individual or political party,” he recalled.
He added that political parties come and go but security institutions would always be there to serve the nation and protect citizens.
Kalala urged security institutions to refuse to be used as pawns by PF leaders.
“They should be there for the nation and its citizens. All Zambians are equal. Zambia is not an animal farm where some Zambians should be considered to be more superior to others. Let each political party play their game according to the standard rules and regulations as by law established,” he said. “The role of choosing who should be leader of Zambia is the duty of citizens. No institution should interfere by influencing how people should vote. Zambia is a democracy where citizens are the only ones who are mandated to elect leaders of their choice. This process should be free of any interference from anywhere and by any one.”
Kalala said the will of the people should be respected and Lt Gen Muma and other heads of security institutions should not interfere in the on-going electoral process as doing so would be going outside their mandates to protect the nation, preserve peace and stability, and to maintain law and order.
“Their duty is to serve Zambia in protecting its territorial integrity and national sovereignty, the people of Zambia and their properties,” said Kalala.