Diplomats Can’t See Wrongs In Upnd Because They Supported HH’s Election – Mundubile

Brian Mundubile


Thursday, 24th August 2023.

Leader of Opposition in Parliament Hon. Brian Mundubile says diplomats accredited to Zambia must stop getting involved in the country’s politics.

And Mundubile claims some diplomats are failing to see wrongs in the UPND government because they supported President Hakainde Hichilema’s election.

He was speaking following remarks by outgoing European Union Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA Jacek Jankowski who said, Monday, that the opposition in Zambia is now more free than it was under the previous regime.

“In the past during the PF government, the diplomats would point out violations of human rights. But what we have seen now is that they are getting more involved in our political space. I want to remind them like we reminded Ambassador Woolley that Zambia is a sovereign state, and when they are accredited to this country they must understand what their limits are.

They must understand their dos and don’ts. So it’s a warning, we want to warn our diplomats that let them stick to their lane, that way they will retain the rights to point out the wrongs that the government is doing, violation of human rights going forward,” Mundubile said.

Mundubile argued that a number of opposition leaders had been arrested for criticising the government and media freedoms had also shrunk under UPND.

“I don’t know what spectacles he was using to judge the political space. Under the new dawn there had been the highest number of arbitrary arrests. Political opponents of the UPND are arrested for merely speaking. You have a whole list of politicians who are in and out of police cells just because they did not agree with the UPND. So for him to say there’s been more freedom, I really don’t know what spectacle he’s using to say that. From where we stand, we think that there’s been a big reduction in democratic space.

People with opposing views can no longer speak because if you speak against the government they’ll find a reason to arrest you. So I don’t agree with the ambassador when he says he’s observed freedom. That statement does not resonate with the facts on the ground,” Mundubile said.

“Did he remember that Innocent Phiri and another cameraman were arrested at Chilufya Tayali’s house for merely doing their job. Some journalist was beaten up in Serenje, another one in Eastern province was picked up by police, there was another journalist who basically exposed the audio between a State House official and a permanent secretary, they were actually summoned. The Editor for News Diggers was summoned for merely reporting on what was happening. I think the examples are many to draw from, so I do not agree that the UPND or the opposition did not have space. HH was on radio every day, so how can he now say that it’s only now that the opposition are speaking? Harry Kalaba was speaking every day, KBF was speaking every day and many other people. So I don’t see the reason why he should draw examples that it’s only now that there’s this freedom. The UPND won power because they were able to communicate with the people, they were able to campaign freely. That’s why they are in power today”.

Mundubile claimed that most diplomats supported President Hakainde Hichilema’s election.

“We know that most of those who are having challenges now are the ones sponsored by countries that fought very hard to put President Hakainde Hichilema in power. Now they have realised that Hakainde Hichilema is failing to perform, so they would like to offer further assistance. They are actually abrogating their own rules, the international rules because they fought very hard, they worked outside their space to fight very hard and campaign for President Hakainde Hichilema. Now that they have seen that he’s failing, they are failing to admit that he has failed. They would like to portray a picture that Hakainde Hichilema and his government are actually doing something,” Mundubile said.

“This is a warning to NGOs, civic leaders and cooperating partners, the moment you take a side in politics and support a party, and that party actually wins elections, it becomes difficult for you to function effectively because you fail to point out the wrongs that that government is doing. Right now there’s no Civil Society in Zambia, the NGOs have all gone underground because they supported Hakainde Hichilema. The Cooperating partners, we saw Ambassador Woolley, we are now seeing the Ambassador from EU, they can’t see the wrongs because their sponsored candidate Hakainde Hichilema is the one governing. But if they take sides and their preferred candidates actually win, they become non-functional”.

Meanwhile, Mundubile said there was need to amend the Constitution so that political party funding flaws can be addressed.

“We want, as a country, to look at some legal reforms, particularly to do with political party funding. This is where the bigger problem comes in because we have countries that are funding political parties with an interest to come and get some benefits later. So the diplomats coming from those countries can not come with a different message, they only come with one message , to promote that particular leader whether he’s doing wrong things or right things. So we must begin to look at the issue in the Constitution,” said Mundubile.

(Credit: News Diggers)


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