Good Evening.

The low calibre of Presiding officers in Zambia’s National Assembly has long been confirmed. We would ignore them completely, except their individual mediocrity is now threatening to make Parliament thoroughly rotten, rendering it useless as the oversight arm of the three wings of government.

Parliament under Speaker Nelly Mutti. Attractor Chisangano and Moses Moyo, has descended to such a low level that most Zambians have now dismissed it as existing only to rubber stamp and defend decisions of the executive. This is why Our Civic Duty Association ( OCIDA) included Mutti among senior government officials harming Zambia’s democracy and violating people’s rights.

Parliament is now known more for curtailing debates by opposition Members of Parliament ( MP’s) and sending them on suspension repeatedly. It is because parliament business has become an embarrassment to the country that the presiding officers think that the only way out is to introduce new standing orders to restrict open media coverage of proceedings.

But even this was done without consulting MP’s and resulted in some form of protests by MP’s from both sides. The presiding officers want to restrict coverage and broadcast of proceedings, except what has been filtered by the parliamentary broadcasting unit. But this would be a reversal of the concept of promoting the image of the peoples parliament, which was why broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings was introduced in the first place.

This outrageous behaviour by United Party for National Development ( UPND) controlled presiding officers is worsening because Western governments whose political and economic interests are tied to this regime are conveniently looking the other way from growing autocratic behaviour. Cooperating partners should not allow in Zambia what their governments can not permit to happen to their own citizens.

What parliament is trying to do with these standing orders is exactly the same as what the executive is attempting to accomplish by introducing licenses for Internet broadcasting under the Independent Broadcasting Authority ( IBA) Act. Both these measures are meant to restrict publication of content that is critical of President Hakainde Hichilema’s government.

The reason for this is that while President Hichilema puts up a brave face in public, privately he is unsure about securing second term because the cost of living has risen sharply and general economic conditions have worsened in the last two years. His government’s standard explanations attributing all economic malaise to the previous government are increasingly sounding hollow.

This is also the reason why President Hichilema’s government is restricting political space for opposition parties- denying them permits for rallies and repeatedly arresting their leaders for flimsy reasons, just to intimidate them.

What is emerging from these actions from the Executive, and now from Parliament through its presiding officers, is a serious threat to Zambia’s democracy. Because this threat is being applied deliberately to perpetuate UPND’s stay in government, it needs to be fought deliberately and concerted fashion.

This fight can not be left to a few Zambians such as Archbishop Emeritus Telesphore Mpundu, Brebner Changala or Sishuwa Sishuwa. Opposition MP’s, independents, including some progressives among UPND, should rise up and prevent Nelly and Co from destroying the ” People’s House”.

Cooperating partners, the West in particular, should STOP being hypocritical, singing praises of President Hichilema, while he is making calculated moves towards autocratic rule. Outmately, the West, by such behaviour, will begin to arouse the kind of resentment that has led several West African countries to throw out the French.

As for local Civil Society, we are not surprised that most of them are quite. They have been swallowed up after receiving funding brought in by Hichilema’s chief sponsors the Brenthurst Foundation of Greg Mills before the 2021 elections. This is why some of them like Pamela. Chisanga and Judith Mulenga have been sent into the diplomatic service.

However, Civil Society should take heed of the warning that ” Monster which their silence is helping nurture” will one day turn around and consume them.

Even the Zambian population in general is failing the test of true Patriotism. Opposition and Independent MP’s waging battles against biased and highly temperamental presiding officers need the visible backing of citizens. Citizens themselves should also exploit every existing channel to voice their concern when parliamentary presiding officers and members of the executive go rogue.

But Zambians seem to be very good at cheering others on from a safe distance, and retreats quietly when activists, vocal MP’s critical activists and independent media practitioners are targeted for harassment as individuals.

Zambians should take a leaf from how the Senegalese population reacted when outgoing President Maky Sall manipulated parliament to pass a resolution to postpone general and presidential elections. Ordinary Senegalese rose up and protested. Opposition political parties took the matter to court. The Senegalese Supreme Court ruled that the decision to postpone elections was unconstitutional, forcing President Sall to immediately call the elections which his party and candidate have lost.

But here in Zambia, people are quite while many voices have been raised that President Hakainde Hichilema breached the constitution in the manner that Mopani Mine shares have been transferred to ” International Jerabos” IHR. President Hichilema has been emboldened to take this action because there was no protest earlier surrendered its 20% shareholding in First Quantum Minerals ( FQM) without involving Parliament.

Zambia is at a critical moment. It requires politically aware citizens making serious commitments and sacrifices to safeguard democracy and prevent President Hichilema from turning the country into his personal Cattle farm in which he owns everything and controls everyone.

Good Night.

Follow the Zambian Whistleblower channel on WhatsApp:

Zambian Whistleblower is on You Tube, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Threads and TikTok.
©️ Zambian Whistleblower

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *