Hichilema, Musamba, Mutti, Malila, Mwiimbu, may face USA Sanctions, Travel Bans

OCIDA petitions USA to impose sanctions on Hichilema, Chief Justice, Police Chief, Speaker, and Home Affairs Minister

From OCIDA-13.03.24

In an unprecedented bold move, prominent Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has petitioned the United States government to impose financial and travel sanctions or bans on the President of Zambia and other top government officials for flagrant violations of human rights that are eroding democracy in the southern African country.

In a statement signed on behalf of OCIDA, an influential civil society group in Zambia addressed to Michael Gonzalez, US Ambassador to Zambia, the respected emeritus clergy said apart from President Hichilema, the Speaker of the National Assembly Nellie Mutti, Chief Justice Mumba Malila, Inspector General of Police Graphael Musamba and Home Minister Jack Mwiimbu must be ´punished´ following rising abuses of rights onto the people of Zambia.

OCIDA therefore petition, “the United States government to impose financial sanctions, visa restrictions and travel bans against top government officials undermining democratic rights in Zambia.”

The civil rights group accuse Mr Hichilema of “restricting public assembly, free association, expression, delayed justice and weaponizing the electoral commission of Zambia, police and parliament,” with the sole aim of suppressing Zambians.

The Director of Public Prosecution Gilbert Phiri has also come under fire for failure to prosecute cases that involve members of the ruling UPND party and prosecuting, mostly cases involving the opposition, especially those involving members of the previous administration of sixth President of Zambia Edgar Lungu, the PF.

There is growing concerns among political pundits that Zambia´s credentials as a growing African democracy have ´eroded´ since Mr Hichilema assumed office and banned all public rallies organised by the opposition after promising maximum freedom while in opposition. The instruction came from IG Musamba.

What has concerned the pundits the most is the ´loud silence’ of the United States and its European Union (EU) allies that supported Mr Hichilema and condemned President Lungu pre-2021 August elections.

Many remain sceptical on whether the OCIDA petition will receive the ´urgent attention´ it deserves from the US, although it is coming from an influential civil society group that “fully backed” Mr Hichilema in his Presidential bid at the exclusion of Mr Lungu.

Zambians have been banned from holding public rallies since Mr Hichilema became President while laws are on the drawing board to license Zambians from positing dissenting videos on social media platforms such as Facebook and tik tok.

Dozen opposition leaders have either been dragged to court or arrested for expressing dissenting views in Zambia, the former First Family of Mr Lungu has not been spared.

Source: OCIDA (Our Civic Duty Association).

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