BRIAN Mundubile has called for cancelation of the Democracy Summit Zambia is expected to co-host with the United States as well as the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Republic of Korea on grounds that Zambia’s record on human rights under the UPND has been dented by human rights violations.
Mr. Mundubile, the Leader of the Opposition Patriotic Front said while government was preparing to host the Democracy Summit, Zambia was experiencing serious human rights violeation with the arrest of 22 peaceful protesters who were airing their views on a range of national issues.
Mr Mundubile said until and unless the UPND government improved its human rights record and stopped the arbitrary arrests and dentation of citizens for political reasons, Zambia was not ready to host the Democracy Summit
He said a number of journalists had recently been detentions without being charged after they were arrested for performing their duties.
Mr. Mundubile said President Hakainde Hichilema while on the Copperbelt issued derogatory remarks and investctives against his predecessor, former President Edgar Lungu apart from threatening the former head of State with arrest.
Mr Mundubile said President Hichilema was threatening Mr Lungu for only going to church for worshipping, stating that it was undemocratic for the head of State to threaten to curtail the rights and freedoms of his predecessor.
He said the human rights violation in the country were not what the international community was expecting of a Constitutional Democracy such as Zambia.
“We are a Constitutional Democracy. One eminent writer has penned thus; “The greatness of any nation lies in the fidelity to the constitution.” what we are seeing today is a violation of the Constitution in many aspects. Zambians are no longer free to assemble and associate. We had 22 Zambians who were recently arrested for merely attempting to assemble and express themselves over a range of national matters they were aggrieved with. We must not just be preaching democracy, we must indeed be seen to be practising it and our governance should be based on the rule of law and not at the whims of those in leadership,” Mr Mundubile said.
Mr. Mundubile said the country had seen a shrinking media and civic space under UPND and that it was feared that the UPND could turn out to be the most oppressive government ever.
“To host a Democracy Summit at a time like this will be very difficult. It shall be difficult in the sense that you cannot be sitting in a room discussing democracy when you have your citizens being opressed,” he said.
Mr. Mundubile wondered what the UPND administration would present at the Summit given the many examples of violation of Human Rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
“We want to see what kind of poetry government officials are going to present at the Summit given that they have not acted democratically in many instances,” Mr Mundubile said.
SOURCE: The Zambian Observer