Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has said Zambia has a fearless, vocal and active labour movement to deal with any matter regarding the governance of the country.
He said the country’s labour movement had played a key role in the liberation of Southern Africa and was also instrumental in the democratization of Africa.
Speaking when he received a memorandum of demands from the National Union of Metal Workers in South Africa(NUMSA), Mr. Mwamba said the concern of the Union were misplaced and founded on distorted media reports.
He said the labour movement in Zambia was capable to handle any threats to democracy or the rule of law.
He urged NUMSA to concentrate on the issues affecting their workers and the country of South Africa before they can show solidarity to misguided causes.
He said Zambia was at peace and its democratic processes were not threatened in any way.
He also dismissed allegations that the country had slid into a dictatorship.
He said the recent proclamation by President Edgar Lungu was designed to arrest and deter threats to peace and public safety and was NOT a state of emergency in any way.
NUMSA applied to local police and conducted a picket at the Embassy in Pretoria.
The Union also delivered a memorandum of demands.
Below is the full statement by His Excellency Mr. Mwamba
STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. EMMANUEL MWAMBA ON THE OCCASION OF RECEIVING NUMSA’s MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS TO THE ZAMBIA GOVERNMENT
PRETORIA-TUESDAY 11th July 2017
We are rather surprised by the keen interest so far shown by the National Union of Metal Workers in South Africa(NUMSA) in the democratic process of our country.
It should be noted that Zambia has a vibrant, vocal, fearless and active labour movement that champions the cause of workers and advocates a healthy and rooted practice of democracy.
It should be noted that our labour movement was deeply involved in the liberation of Southern Africa and relentlessly fought against the shackles of colonialism and its offshoots such as racism, apartheid and Neo-colonialism.
Our Labour movement was also at the forefront of restoring a second wave of Democracy in Africa and even helped usher in a labour leader, Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba as Zambia’s second president of the Republic after Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda.
Therefore, if anything was amiss in our country, you would have loudly heard the voices of our labour movement.
However, notwithstanding the above prevailing matter, we wish to state the following:
1. Our country held elections on 11th August 2016. These elections and the outcome was affirmed as free, fair and credible. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) declared President Edgar Lungu as winner of that election. Reports from the SADC, EISA, African Union, Commonwealth, the European Union Observer Mission’s all reflected that the outcome of the August 2016 election reflected the will of the Zambian people;
2. That President Edgar Lungu won the elections and is legitimately and legally the President of the Republic of Zambia.
3. Although the Opposition disputed the results and went to the Constitutional Court, this matter was legally settled in favour of President Edgar Lungu.
4. In relation to the arrest of the Opposition leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND) is a matter of the Rule of Law. This matter will be determined in our courts of law and any further comments is both prejudicial and subjudice.
5. Recently there were acts of sabotage and acts of arson to public installations that prompted President Edgar Lungu and his Cabinet to approve a proclamation to preserve public security and safety.
6. I was shocked to see in the Media here in South Africa reporting that Zambia had declared a State of Emergency when in fact no such declaration was made.
7. There is NO State of emergency. This is not true. There are no curfews, there is no disruption of ordinary life and business in any way and in any form.
8. Banks have maintained their operating schedules, no single airline has cancelled a flight schedule including those that arrive in the night.
9. No freedoms or rights have been suspended and the measure to secure public safety is a measure provided for in the Constitution. There is NO State of Emergency.
10. This is a mere set of constitutionally approved powers that gives the Police latitude to investigate and prosecute such matters.
11. Any country facing a security threat resorts to similar measures. But our country is not at a stage where it would even declare a state of emergency.
These measures are limited and will last in the short prescribed period as defined by the Constitution.
So we strongly reject any assertions that claim that Zambia is sliding into a dictatorship or has abandoned the rule of law.
Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba
Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa