Dr SISHUWA Sishuwa

Mbinji Mufalo – Of Sishuwa Sishuwa & “Zambia’s democracy is still under attack”

By Mbinji Mufalo

It is always a fresher breath of air, when once governance activists like this relic about to be shelved in the Archeological section of the Livingstone Museum read an article about our obtaining governance that ‘says it, as it is’. Good thing though is. Relics, are patient because they most often have nothing to do other than watch the wind. Thence. They will always have, ‘but’ buts.

And the ‘buts’ are.

1. “This move is widely seen as targeted at three private newspapers, since state-owned publications face no consequences for failure to meet their tax obligations”.

– This argument needs evidencing. It is assumptive.

2. “Fourth, the UPND has emulated its predecessor’s legacy of denying coverage to opposition parties in the state-run media. In opposition, Hichilema
pledged to stop this culture by transforming the state media into genuine public platforms, establishing legal safeguards for editorial independence, and reviewing legislation that undermine their governance structures and leave them vulnerable to political interference. In power, however, it has been business as usual”.

– Statistical evidence of this trend should have been provided. Oops! I forget I am a Geomatician. This is political analyses. Will let this one stand.

3. “On 15 March 2022, for instance, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly banned 30 opposition lawmakers from parliament for 30 days. This followed their peaceful protest in November 2021, when the PF MPs noted that the finance minister had referenced constitutional provisions that no longer exist and asked for these anomalies to be corrected..

The ongoing suspension of 39 of the PF’s 51 MPs suggests an organised effort to weaken the main opposition or intimidate it into submission. It also means there is effectively no opposition party in the National Assembly currently.”

– This can only be valid, if Sishuwa’s argument is that the House Standing Orders used were misapplied.

4. “When Shebby Chilekwa, a PF member and suspect in a murder investigation, recently complained that he had been tortured by the police while in detention and showed his scars, not even major human rights bodies expressed outrage…”

– Couldn’t the fact that the torture images circulated where from Uganda, and not Zambia (Chilekwa’s) have minimised this concern? Shouldn’t Sishuwa have also raised this likely disinformation?

5. “Weakening Civil Society

The first is that many of the critical voices from academia, civil society and the church who spoke truth to power under Lungu have failed to remain impartial since Hichilema’s election. Previously neutral voices have become part of the choir of praise or gone silent..”

– Any examples of this impartiality? Sishuwa, really, has not provided substantive evidence as to how the weakening of Civil Society is the case. For, it is not all individuals in Civil Society that have been appointed into the public service.

6. “The first is the lack of example. Despite being elected a platform of anti-corruption, accountability and transparency, Hichilema has so far failed to disclose the value of his assets. Along with Lungu, he is the only major party nominee and president to do so”.

– He did under the provisions of our electoral Law. What we really should be arguing is a call for him to do so outside the “walls of the Law”. Thence, to argue that he “has so far failed” is otiose.

End thought.
Fact is. The article is a damn good needed watchdog treatise. Mwanange, Sishuwa Sishuwa, keep the fire burning. And I believe, we will always be their to use our nostrils as bellows.




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