THE Oasis Forum has become a discredited, politically inclined organisation by reducing itself to being a mouth piece of the opposition UPND and should, therefore, not be taken seriously over national matters, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili has charged.
Mr Kambwili said the Oasis Forum was exhibiting the worst form of hypocrisy by criticising President Edgar Lungu’s decision to form a commission of inquiry to conduct a post-mortem of the pre and post elections violence that resulted in loss of lives and left a trail of destruction of public and private property.
Mr Kambwili said it had become crystal clear that the Oasis Forum with its financiers were pushing an anti-Government agenda so that there could be political consternation in the country, thereby making the country ungovernable.
Mr Kambwili, who is chief Government spokesperson, said in an interview yesterday that the people and media organisations on whose behalf the Oasis Forum was speaking had been breaking the country’s laws with impunity and should, therefore, account for their irresponsible actions. He said Government was not going to waste time responding to the Oasis Forum accusations because that would only work to give the organisation credence.
Mr Kambwili said the Oasis Forum that stood and opposed the third term attempt by former president Frederick Chiluba had completely changed into a partisan organisation championing the cause of opposition political parties and media houses that were propagating hate messages against President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF).
“The Oasis Forum is being irresponsible and we are not surprised that they can oppose President Lungu’s good intention of forming a commission of inquiry to delve into the violence that characterised the last general elections. The Oasis Forum has reduced itself to being a mouth piece of the UPND and an appendage of the Post Newspaper. The people and media houses the Oasis Forum has been speaking for have been breaking the law with impunity and it is the desire of the forum that those who breach the laws of the country should not account for their actions,” Mr Kambwili said.
Mr Kambwili said it was President Lungu’s genuine desire to establish the cause of the violence that characterised the last general elections and find a lasting solution so that the vice did not repeat itself in the coming elections. Yesterday, the Oasis Forum declared that there was no need for the formation of a commission of inquiry to investigate the causes of violence before, during and after the August general elections.
In a statement signed by Catholic Bishop Cleophas Lungu, the Oasis Forum said the reasons behind the violence in the last general elections were known which according to them included the country having a deficient Public Order Act and its biased application.
The Oasis Forum also accused the Zambia Police of not being independent and impartial apart from allowing cadres from the ruling party to run public places such as bus stations.
“The Oasis Forum is becoming increasingly alarmed at the trend of political intimidation and physical attacks against citizens and members of the private media, most recently against Komboni Radio and Prime TV and generally the violation of human rights on Zambian citizens.
“We welcome the apology of the Republican Vice-President over the unfortunate remarks that the assault of journalist Lesa Nyirenda was warranted as we believe that violence of this nature has no place in a Christian democracy such as ours. We recall the intimidation of the Post Newspaper and the Muvi TV. These attacks appear to be an attempt by Government to diminish dissenting voices of citizens to achieve their own end,” Fr Lungu said.