Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has dismissed the letter and contents written by UPND President Hakainde Hichilema as an act of serious desperation and hopelessness.
Mr Hichilema has written to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon seeking intervention over President Edgar Lungu’s threats on democracy and the breakdown of law and order in the country.
Mr Hichilema’s letter was copied to South African President Jacob Zuma, SADC Chairman Ian Khama, COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya, Chairperson of the African Union commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Dean of the African diplomatic corps David Banda and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Executive Secretary Muburi Muita.
Mr Hichilema also wrote to American Ambassador Eric Schultz, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, chairman of the African Union Idris Derby, New Chairman of the African Union Paul Kagame, Ambassador of the Commission of the European Union to Zambia Alessandro Mariani and SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lewis-Tax.
“Recent events in our country give rise to serious concerns on our part, which require the attention, intervention and urgent engagement of your organisations. We are immensely proud of our country’s previous peaceful elections and we would not like this record to be tarnished.
Recent acts of State and political party violence have put our country in a state of uncertainty and the potential for breakdown of law and order which could quite easily degenerate into a civil war, which must be avoided at all costs,” Mr Hichilema stated.
“I attach to this letter a catalogue of print and video images of some of the ugly incidences which have given rise to our concerns and grave anxieties. It is for these reasons that we urge you to help bring about calm, by bringing the participating politics parties together to sign a peace accord which would hold up to the 11th August, so that the lives of our citizens are not endangered.”
He observed that all previous peace agreements between political parties had failed.
“The leaders of the three church mother bodies brought all the major political parties together on 29th April, 2016 where they made a commitment to campaign peacefully during these elections and to reject violence. These commitments have sadly broken down and are not being honoured.
Recently, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) suspended election campaigns for 10 days in Lusaka and Namwala districts on account of reported violence, but it has become a notorious fact that branded motor vehicles of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) which were prohibited by ECZ continued to campaign especially in the capital Lusaka, without being stopped by either the police or ECZ, causing anger and frustration on our part and others taking part in these elections,” Mr. Hichilema stated.
He stated that if the situation remained unchecked, it would produce serious consequences for the country.
“This state of affairs is menacingly leading to a breakdown of law and order in our country and concerns to this effect have also been voiced in equal measure by the Human Rights Commission of Zambia, the Law Association of Zambia, the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Council and the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), who have accused ECZ and the Zambia police of being biased against opposition parties,” Mr. Hichilema stated.
“We fear that if this situation remains unchecked, it could produce serious consequences for our country and its people, hence this urgent request for Your Excellences’ engagement and intervention. I am confident that you will give this matter the urgency and seriousness it deserves.”
But Mr. Kalaba stated that Hichilema was fearful of an impending fifth straight loss and was now making desperately wild claims to attract international attention to himself.
He said that Zambia is a democratic state that runs free, credible and fair elections and Mr Hichilema was afraid of the impending rejection from Zambians that he would face next week.
He said the act by Mr Hichilema was desperate and highly unpatriotic and was surprised that any Zambian could write such a letter against his own country.
Below is the full statement by Mr. Kalaba
HICHILEMA’S DESPERATION IS ALARMING
We have learnt with sadness that United Party for National Development (UPND) leader has written an unpatriotic letter to the United Nations and copied it to the African Union, International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) and other bodies.
The gist of this letter is the preposterous claim that Democracy and Freedoms have been eroded in Zambia by the government of President Edgar Lungu.
We suspect that Mr. Hichilema is smelling a clear electoral defeat, a straight 5th personal loss for him that he can’t appear to stomach.
We are shocked that any citizen of this peaceful and democratic country could write such a demeaning and unpatriotic letter against the spirit of his own country. It is imperative to state that the basis and foundation of his letter holds no truth and is an attempt to merely scandalise the credible electoral process.
President Edgar Lungu has been at the forefront of ensuring that Law and Order is preserved and the inter party violence incidences were curbed. On the other hand, Mr. Hichilema has promoted activities that violate peace, law and order by defying the law and public order act.
He is on record as the only political leader who refused to be part of the peace efforts initiated by the ECZ Zambia remains a peaceful country and will hold credible, transparent and democratic elections.
Mr. Hichilema has been able to hold public rallies and meetings without hindrance or stoppages. Government has invited local and international observers to witness this process.
We therefore call upon Zambians and the recipients of this desperate letter to dismiss its contents and regard it as only worth for its nuisance value.
We also urge Mr. Hichilema to recognise that his acts of unpatriotism against his country is so regrettable that it amounts to sabotage and beneath the call of a man aspiring for the highest office in the land.
Mr. Hichilema is expected to express sincere gratitude and patriotism to Zambia and its people for all the country has given him.
His hypocrisy and desperation speaks volumes about why Zambians have rejected him for four times in the past and are most likely going to reject him for the 5th time.
God bless Zambia.
Hon. Harry Kalaba Minister of Foreign Affairs