DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
THE Patriotic Front (PF) says results of the 2017 Afro-Barometer Report have not come as a surprise.
Director for media Sunday Chanda says the Afro-Barometer Report fits into what has become a clear agenda sponsored by those who seek to retain control of the country’s mineral resources through their puppets and political fronts.
Mr Chanda said the report has failed to acknowledge the fact that the last elections were determined as credible and fair by European Union (EU), Commonwealth, African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).
“The report alleges that the independence of the Judiciary and the police had been lost yet the same report fails to acknowledge that during the period invoking Article 31 of the Zambian Constitution, members of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) were acquitted, namely in the case involving former Tourism Minister Silvia Masebo and another case of 11 UPND cadres. If this does not speak to the independence of the Judiciary, then we would wonder which textbook the Afro-Barometer is reading from,” Mr Chanda said.
He said the report appears to have a problem with Zambia’s separation of powers and the independent legislative functions of the executive.
Mr Chanda said the report attempts to politicise a criminal case which is before competent courts for jurisdiction.
“Unless the Afro-Barometer seeks to disregard Zambian laws, the opposition leader is in prison on treason charges and not political ones. Considering that the matter is before the courts of law, we are constrained to discuss the merits and or demerits of his case, serve to say it is cheap politicking for anyone to attempt politicising a criminal matter. We remain committed to principles of natural justice, believing the UPND leader would be heard fairly and speedily,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said the report must be read with suspicion as it appears to be a tool of imperialist forces that are bent on attacking Zambia’s leadership for their economic interests.
He said the PF’s interest is to restore a focus on development and build a stronger and fairer society anchored on strong institutions.
And NKOMBO KACHEMBA reports in Kitwe that the PF says it is disappointed with the remarks attributed to Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Linda Kasonde suggesting that there were no sufficient grounds to warrant the invoking of Article 31 by the Government.
In a statement released in Kitwe yesterday, PF Kitwe district chairperson Christopher Kang’ombe said President Lungu, having been duly elected by the people, can at any time invoke any provision in the constitution to protect the lives of the Zambian people.
Mr Kang’ombe advised LAZ to limit its role to simply interpreting the provisions of the law in a correct manner and to refrain from commenting on matters that are supposed to be handled by the national leadership.
And Kabwe Central constituency member of Parliament Tutwa Ngulube says President Lungu invoked Article 31 of the Constitution in the interest of the country and its citizens, reports CHAMBO NG’UNI in Kabwe.
Mr Ngulube has also urged traders to be law-abiding and vigilant and report all suspicious-looking people to the police.
“The President declared the threatened state of emergency. This means that the police have been given more powers to do their work,” Mr Ngulube said.