HAS DEMOCRACY SHRUNK IN ZAMBIA UNDER HH AND THE UPND ADMINISTRATION?
By Mupishi Jones
As am asking and answering myself,let’s ask ourselves as citizens these basic but uncomfortable,hard and honest questions about how we have been governed before and compare with how we are being governed today in the context of democratic freedoms and liberties.
We must understand that for one to say that democracy has deteriorated today, the implication is that yesteryear it was better.
Let’s begin by comparing these two administrations, the immediate past ECL and his “akawawawa boys” reign and the current experience of Hakainde Hichilema and his New Dawn rule.
Let me declare on the onset that in terms of democratic governance,Zambia is still a young democracy, learning to walk that route as compared to advanced democracies such as America,India and other notable countries.
Therefore,let’s begin with basic freedoms of movement, association and speech.
On a scale of 1 to 20, how would you rate these two administrations?
1.Was HH as a leading opposition political party leader then,allowed to move,associate, and speak especially through public media houses,freely around this country during the administration of EDGAR C LUNGU and his “akawawawa boys” reign?
_What immediately comes into my mind is the CB incident when HH escaped through the rust radio station rooftop and the HH/Chipata airport detention.
- Is ECL free today to move, associate and speak freely around this country under the current administration of HH and his New Dawn rule?
Yes, he’s been freely jogging, going to public stadia to watch football
- Where all the citizens regardless of their political affiliations allowed to move freely around this country including in famous bus stations such as Intercity bus terminus, marketplaces such as city market, and other public places without being haunted with what they were dressing during the ECL and his “akawawawa boys” reign?
No,I know of citizens that stayed 7 years without setting foot in Intercity because they were known UPND cadres.
4.Are citizens under this current administration of HH and his New Dawn rule free to move around this country including in the same bus stations, marketplaces and other public places without first taking stock of the color of garment they’re wearing?
Go to either city market or Intercity today, you’ll find citizens trading next to each other, one in a UPND T-shirt, the other in a PF T-shirt.
- Where the political crowds being dispaced using state police brutal and excessive force such as tear gassing and indiscriminate use of live fire arms under the reign of ECL and his “akawawawa boys” administration?
Yes teargas and live police gunshots were quickly becoming the order of the day, remember what took the lives of Nsama, Lawrence and Mapenzi? Remember also the trigger happy cop against Tayali, the current Minister?
- Are the citizens political crowds still experiencing the smell of tear gassing, sounds of live police gunshots when they are told to dispace under the current administration of HH and his New Dawn rule?
I’ve never heard of any police gunshots nor teargas smell under this regime, anyone to remind me if any?
- Where members of the New Dawn Administration under HH in opposition then, free to talk anything within the law without constantly looking behind their shoulders under the ECL and his akawawawa boys reign?
HH himself was arrested more than 15 times, just under the ECL and his akawawawa boys.I know of UPND lower ranked members whose houses,”tuntembas” and other properties burnt down to ashes.
- Are members of the ECL and his alebwelelapo team free to assemble anywhere in this country and criticize the sitting government without the ruling political party cadres descending on them in front of live media cameras?
Just watch any media broadcast today, you’ll see opposition political party members talking, some with valgar language.
- Where there some media firms that were clamped down on
(i) suspicion of supporting the opposition political parties especially the UPND and,
(ii) criticizing the sitting government;
during the ECL and his “akawawawa boys” reign?
- Is there any media house that has been shut down or raided by the ruling political party cadres for either hosting any opposition political party member or mere suspicion of propagating opposition political parties agenda under the current administration of HH and his New Dawn rule?
Not to my knowledge
11.Did the ECL and his “akawawawa boys” team during their reign declare other regions and parts of this country as “no-go” regions and parts for other opposition political parties especially the UPND of HH and his New Dawn Administration?
Yes Shiwang’andu,parts of Cooperbelt,Chipata were among those
- Do the citizens still hear of such once popular terminologies as “no-go” regions and parts for opposition political parties under the current HH and his New Dawn Administration?
This narrative have died
- Were citizens free to trade in any marketplaces wearing political ligalia of their choice especially for the opposition political party UPND without being banned after being publicly undressed during the days of ECL and his akawawawa boys?
City Market, Intercity were a preserve and exclusively for PF only
14 Are citizens today free to trade in any marketplaces including City Market,Intercity and other public places whilst wearing T-shirts or Chitenges of political parties of their choice including that of the PF Rebel Leader without fear of harassed from political party cadres of the ruling UPND?
Go and witness and listen to the freedoms being enjoyed by marketeers themselves
- Where Bus/ Taxi Drivers free to operate in any public designated operating stations whilst wearing T-shirts of any political party of their choice during the ECL and his akawawawa boys?
It was taboo under the ECL and his akawawawa boys
- Are Bus/Taxi Drivers today free to operate in any public designated operating stations whilst wearing T-shirts of any political party of their choice including that of the PF Rebel Leader under HH and his New Dawn watch?
Go in any public bus stations or taxi ranks anywhere,
- Where Civil Servants working freely,devoid of insecurities of being brutally visited by the ECL led akawawawa boys eminating from being suspected of supporting the opposition political parties especially the UPND?
Remember that lady who was physically howded out of her office? Remember that PF driver shouting at the police traffic officer “ati Ba letudelela”?
- Are Civil Servants working freely today under the watch of HH and his New Dawn team without the constant fear of being unfairly transferred, dismissed or retired from service in national interest?
I’ve never heard of any lower ranked civil servant retired in national interest
19.Where the ruling political party cadres, the “akawawawa boys” more powerful and threatening than the ordinary citizens including the state police combined under the ECL and his akawawawa boys’ rule?
Remember the Hon. Emmanuel Jay Banda / Lsk Police HQ saga?
- Are the ruling political party cadres under the current HH and his New Dawn rule more powerful and a threat to the general citizens including the state police today ?
Are they still there?
When one answers these basic and simple questions in a very honest, objective and rational manner,then he would have answered the question whether indeed democracy has shrinked under HH and his New Dawn Administration as compared to how we experienced under ECL and his akawawawa boys.
He would also have answered whether there has been a significant improvement in our democratic governance under the current HH and his New Dawn rule.
Let’s be honest, some opposition political party members want to cloud their criminal investigation allegations and disguise it under political persecution! On the other hand, some political party leaders want to be perceived as political heroes by clearly daring the law and once visited by the same law they’re daring, they are quick to cry political persecution.
The Bembas say, “ubushiku ushaminwe,nechimbala chila ocha”. Meaning not all days are Sundays. This law you keep on daring,one so-called prominent political party leader will be harshly convicted by the same laws they’re toying with today!
I submit ,