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REJECT PF DEFECTORS…toxic politicians should remain ku wire, Mulenga urges HH

THE Civil Society Constitution Agenda has congratulated Zambians for demonstrating to themselves and others of their unshakeable belief in democracy.

CiSCA chairperson Judith Mulenga said the large numbers that last week voted and unequivocally replaced a “corrupt stifling dictatorship” of President Edgar Lungu with that of the President-elect Hakainde Hichilema under very oppressive and repressive conditions is nothing short of a miracle.

However, Mulenga urged the new ruling party not to embrace former PF members no matter how lowly they claim they want to contribute or to work with your party.

“Thank them for the offer but reject them,” she said. “Yes politics is about numbers and you have your numbers. Your necessary numbers are the millions that voted for you. Kwamana! Toxic politicians should remain ku wire. The nation knows who these are.”

Mulenga said CiSCA wholeheartedly congratulated the UPND for affirming the tenets of democracy by its consistency, perseverance in the harsh environment of the opposition among most of the party’s rank and file when it was far much easier for individuals to defect to the ruling Patriotic Front because it was, as per the defecting mantra, the only party with a ‘clear development agenda’.

“CiSCA is hopeful that the President-elect’s maiden press briefing on 16th August 2021 set a progressive tone of pledging his administration’s upholding of human rights, constitutionalism, non-interference in state institutions, zero tolerance to cadre terror, non-tolerance to corruption, promotion of unity and most critical, revamping the economy,” she said. “All these are a positive marked departure from what was prevailing in the previous regime leading to Zambians’ resounding rejection on the 12th of August 2021. However, like the English adage goes: ‘the proof is in the pudding,’ because Zambians have heard these good intentions before.”

Mulenga said CiSCA contended that the other parties’ loss was not an outright rejection by the Zambian people but fitting into the election’s trajectory of giving a chance to the UPND, the country’s longest serving opposition party.

CiSCA urged the other candidates to stay focused and consistent, stating that Zambians who have the ultimate authority would give them a chance in the future.

And in congratulating Hichilema, CiSCA asked the incoming President to immediately revisit the Constitution.

“As per the UPND’s manifesto, CiSCA would like to see the immediate revisiting and hopefully final people-driven review of our Constitution not only to deal with the lacunas that were caused by PF dominated National Assembly’s cherry picking of the so-called non-controversial provisions in the final draft of the technical committee on the Constitution but also to comprehensively expand the Bill of Rights to include economic, social and cultural rights,” she said. “The Bill of Rights to further include special rights for the usually marginalised sectors of our society. However, this should be done through building consensus among citizens if the new constitutional order is to engender loyalty and legitimacy.”

Mulenga said that as per the UPND’s manifesto, CiSCA wants to see the immediate prioritising the strengthening of the Electoral Commission of Zambia by guaranteeing not only its independence but also strengthening its capacity.

She said the high levels of anxiety that each general election brings to Zambia is unacceptable in the digital age. Mulenga noted that there was too much “hustle and bumbling” from registration, to campaigns, to voting, to counting and announcements.

“Voter education should be continuous and not be an event. The number of spoiled ballots at 124,906 thus far recorded, far surpassing the collective number of votes for numbers three to 15 presidential candidates is not only embarrassing but is a violation of the right to vote,” she said.

Mulenga also noted Hichilema’s assurance of the safety of outgoing President Edgar Lungu and his cohort but said there was still “unfinished business” with the citizens.

“We want all the funds stolen back to a ngwee. Mr President-elect, you can cozy up all you like but recover and give us back our money! Use it to improve our schools so that they look like real learning centres and not deserted beehives! Pay our retirees immediately! Zambia being among the five hungriest nations in the world as per the Global Hunger Index, use the money to expand the numbers of Social Cash Transfers beneficiaries,” she said. “CiSCA is happy that the usual suspects aligned to grand theft won parliamentary seats and therefore they are within reach of retrieving our money. CiSCA contends that they probably used our money to lay out massive campaigns that poor hungry voters could not resist and therefore leading to their victory. We want each and every coin back in our public coffers.”

CiSCA further commended Hichilema’s intention to unite the nation from the worst polarisations that it has ever had to experience.

Mulenga said nonetheless, CiSCA had noted that in Zambia there is a type of metamorphosis after each election when the losing side and violent cadres suddenly disappear only to remerge in the ruling party.

“This has contributed to former ruling parties going into oblivion immediately after losing power and just existing by name. This has also contributed to a weakening of our democracy by ruling parties desperately making serious sometimes criminal efforts to hang on to power at whatever cost. Therefore, CiSCA urges the new ruling party not to embrace former PF members no matter how lowly they claim they want to contribute or to work with your party. Thank them for the offer but reject them,” she said. “Yes politics is about numbers and you have your numbers. Your necessary numbers are the millions that voted for you. Kwamana! Toxic politicians should remain ku wire. The nation knows who these are.”

Mulenga also said CiSCA was happy that Hichilema jagged “some undertone” of Zambia finally getting its right to information Act.

“Mr President, we as CiSCA are happy that in your maiden speech there was some connotation of Zambia finally getting our right to information Act. We therefore request you to show goodwill by restoring The Post Newspaper’s assets to the owner and work out a payment plan for the proprietor(s) for the unpaid taxes as per the court ruling,” said Mulenga. “Restore Prime Television. Restructure, rebrand and commercialise the public media houses such as Times of Zambia, Daily Mail and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation to give confidence to us the public. In their current forms and organisational cultures, these media houses are untenable. Maintain ZANIS for government information.”

She also requested Hichilema to disband authorities “that just serve the purpose of providing employment to supporters or ruling party sympathisers” and place their functions in the relevant government ministries.

CiSCA named such bodies as the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

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