The United States government has expressed concern over the culture of political violence in Zambia were political cadres resort to using machetes whenever disagreements arise.
Speaking during the commemoration of the 238th independence anniversary of the United States of America and 50 years of good relationship between with Zambian in Lusaka last evening, U.S Embassy Charge’d’Affairs, David Young, said in a democracy, disagreements are settled with words not machetes as witnessed in the Zambian politics.He bemoaned the intolerable levels of violence in Zambia where citizens who disagree with government views are attacked by state sponsored cadres.
Mr. Young said it is regrettable that the Police harass political parties, civil society groups and journalists who are merely exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
He stressed that freedom of speech, assembly and the press are foundational rights, adding that democracy can only flourish when the said rights are guaranteed for all citizens no matter which party or group they support.
[pullquote]it is regrettable that the Police harass political parties, civil society groups and journalists who are merely exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly.[/pullquote]
He further stated that a vibrant and independent NGO community is crucial to democracy and development.
Mr. Young strongly encouraged the Zambian government to work with the NGO community to find a mutually acceptable solution regarding NGO registration and autonomy.
And Health Deputy Minister Chitalu Chilufya said Zambia will continue to play its role as a beacon of peace stability in the region through its commitment to the principles of democracy and good governance.
Dr.Chilufya said government will continue to pursue social and economic programs in order to fulfill the aspirations of the Zambian people into a future of hope and dignity and that assures them of education and employment opportunities, poverty alleviation and justice for all.
Some of the prominent people who attended the function include, First Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, Vice President Guy Scott, Chieftainess Nkomesha Mukamambo II of the Soli people in Chongwe district, who is also the House of Chiefs Chairperson,UPND Mazabuka MP Garry Nkombo, and senior government officials.