MASS ACTION AND NATIONAL SHUTDOWN
…processions, protests, demonstrations are legal in this country…
Lusaka-Sunday, 5th November 2023
We have noted statements from State House and from the Zambia Police responding to our call for mass actions and promoting a day of national shut-down in order for Zambians to protect the Constitution, Democracy and the Rule of Law.
It must be stated that the conduct of both mass actions and proposed day of national shut-down are legally sound and are practices within the democratic space of our country.
These calls also form part of freedom of expression and association practices to raise awareness and attention to a particular national matter(s).
Processions, protests and demonstrations are all legal and provided for in the laws of Zambia.
WHY MASS ACTION AND A DAY OF NATIONAL SHUTDOWN
We have over the last two years, noted a deep erosion of our democracy and total disregard for the rule of law in our country by the Executive.
These violations span from wide-ranging issues such as abuse of public tender processes to the police actions that involves torturing, killing and meting out inhuman treatment to citizens and those perceived to be political opponents of those in power.
Of serious concerns are the recent state actions against the Patriotic Front.
There is concerted effort to decimate the Opposition party from the political scene and remove its leadership.
Besides the numerous arrests against its leaders, the seizure of the party’s vehicles and assets, recent actions and utterances have exposed President Hakainde Hichilema as one at the centre of this plot and is determined to abuse state institutions and public resources to destroy Zambia’s largest Opposition party.
KABUSHI AND KWACHA BY-ELECTIONS
The conduct of State House to unfairly abuse the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Zambia Police, with the sole purpose to exclude Patriotic Front candidates from participating in the Kwacha and Kabushi by-elections held in October 2022 were orchestrated by the State.
Later the Constitution Court on 10th March 2023( in the case 2022/CCZ/0018), ruled that the actions of the state and ECZ to defrenchise Hon. Joe Malanji and Hon. Bowman Lusambo were unlawful as the duo was eligible to participate and contest in those by-elections election.
Sadly despite this ruling bybthe Constitutional Court, both Hon. Malanji and Hon. Lusambo remain outside Parliament and the seats have subsequently gone to the UPND.
RECENT ACTIONS AGAINST THE PATRIOTIC FRONT
Recently, there have been concerted attempts to deregister the Patriotic Front despite the party fulfilling and meeting all lawful and procedural obligations.
Warning letters were issued by the Registrar of Societies giving notice of the intention to deregister the party.
On 9th May 2023, a gazette notice no 592 was issued illegally giving powers to the Chief Registrar of Societies. With this gazette notice, The Chief Regsitrar proceeded to give a 60-day ultimatum for political parties to hold internal elections and fill vacancies.
The Statutory Instrument was clearly designed and aimed at the Patriotic Front party.
STATE PREPARES AND FACILITATES MILES SAMPA’S ILLEGAL EXTRA-ORDINARY CONFERENCE
It must be made very clear that the attempt to steal, kill and destroy the Patriotic Front has been mooted and implemented by President Hakainde Hichilema and his officials at State House and Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security.
Below are some reasons making our claims credible;
- Despite several reports spanning several days from the Patriotic Front to the Zambia Police, informing and demanding action from them, that a known person, a Mr. Morgan Ngona, who was NOT a member of the Patriotic Front was planning and attempting to hold and host an illegal Conference to be held at Mulungushi University and later moved to Mulungushi International Conference Center, the Police refused to act and prevent an illegal and criminal action.
We informed the Police that this was being done in cohoots, with a suspended official, Matero Member of Parliament, Hon. Miles Sampa, but the Police blatantly ignored the reports as demonstrated by a public statement from the Inspector General of Police who said that he had no intention of arresting Mr. Miles Sampa or those perpetrating the illegality.
- Instead the State provided a heavy police presence which moved in to protect and ensure that such an illegal meeting actually took place.
- The action by the Police led by Deputy Inspector General, Milner Muyambago to clear fingerprints and security checks on 24th October 2023, the day of the so-called Conference and to facilitate the submission of a Notice of Change of Office Bearers to the Registrar of Societies, exposed the plot and the involvement of the State at such a high level.
- The subsequent actions and occurrences witnessed at Parliament and the Judiciary, that exposes deep interference from State House.
- The pressure exerted on the Registrar of Societies to attempt to change Office Bearers despite the Conference held by Miles Sampa being clearly illegal and failed to meet any of the procedures and provisions of the Patriotic Front Party Constitution.
- Affording Mr. Miles Sampa state security, sometimes bigger than the security detail of the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia.
- The abuse of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), a public broadcaster, from the day when the illegal Conference was held to date, where a narrative is being pushed that Miles Sampa held a legitimate and lawful process that resulted in him being elected as so-called PF party president.
ZNBC has also been abused to a great extent, to plant a false narrative that activities in the Patriotic Front were an internal matter of conflict and were NOT as a result of a now known and established agenda that this is state orchestrated, state sponsored and state-driven process to impose a UPND stooge or sympathizer, as leader of the Patriotic Front.
- Despite the Patriotic Front not making any changes to the party leadership in Parliament as provided for under Article 74(2) which elects leader of the Opposition in Parliament, the Speaker of the National Asembly Nellie as proceeded to effect changes on the request of Miles Sampa. It must be noted that the Party has sued Mr. Sampa for holding an illegal Conference and holding himself out as Patriotic Front Party President and this matter has not been resolved or determined.
This matter remain in yhe Lusaka high court.
PRESIDENT HICHILEMA MUST BE CALLED OUT FOR ABUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION
Therefore the abuse of state institutions and flagrant disregard for the Rule of Law and the damage done to democratic institutions and wings of Government, as exposed during this process, requires that we engage in civic, civil and political actions to rescue and restore our democracy.
We are calling upon NGOs, the Church, Labour movement, sister political parties to join us in bringing political pressure to bear onto the government of President Hichilema so that he is encouraged to respect the Republican Constitution and democratic norms.
What has happened is not a PF affair but an attack and affront on our democracy.
It must be stated that the protest actions will remain peaceful and within the confines and sanctity of the law and order.
The attempt by President Hichilema to steal, kill and destroy the Patriotic Front is a betrayal and an affront to the multi-party democracy status of our country.
Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
Chairperson of Information and Publicity
Member of the Patriotic Front