JACK Kalala says the PF regime’s action to shut down Internet services on the day of voting is not only tyrannical and undemocratic but also outrageous, irrational and frustrating.
The former aide to late president Levy Mwanawasa said the PF action to deny people the means of communication which amounts to violating their human rights was inconsiderate, unfair and wicked.
He said the importance of communication cannot be overemphasized stating that it is necessary and essential for business, social and security purposes.
“About 14:00 hours on the day of the elections, the Internet services were shut down throughout the country, denying people the right to communicate for business and social purposes. Yet a few days before the elections, the PF government through the Permanent Secretary of Information and Broadcasting, Mr Amos Malupenga who is a devoted member of the Jehovah’s Witness – who are reputed to be men and women of integrity – informed and assured the nation that government had no intention to shut down the internet during the election period. He refuted the rumour that was circulating that government had plans to shut down the Internet during the election period as it has been done in other countries during the election period,” Kalala said. “Surprisingly, on Thursday at about 14.00 hours while people were still voting, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook could not be accessed creating confusion and inconvenience among the people who wondered as to what was happening in view of the earlier assurance from government that the Internet services would remain uninterrupted. Sadly, there was no explanation from the relevant authorities. To the people’s utter dismay, it was later discovered that ZICTA had shut down the Internet services, creating a total media blackout and communication inconvenience.”
Kalala said the government action to shut down the internet goes to show lack of respect and consideration for the people and their needs.
He said the action is looking down upon citizens who put them in power and to whom they are accountable.
Kalala added that elected leaders should not consider themselves greater and wiser than everyone else in the country.
“The duty of a leader is to improve the living standards of the people. They should not make life harder and difficult for citizens or deprive them of their rights,” said Kalala. “They should endeavour to make life better and more comfortable for the people. As stated earlier, to serve one’s nation is an honourable privilege that should not be abused but appreciated, cherished and taken seriously.”