The Zambia Police has given a go ahead to civil society groups to hold their planned peaceful demonstrations at Parliament as Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe delivers the 2019 national budget.
This was after the NGO leaders appealed to Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo following the refusal by the police in Lusaka to have the protest go ahead.
A note from Officer Commanding Lusaka Urban District Headquarters said, “Following your appeal, you are allowed to go ahead but observe law and order.”
Laura Miti, one of the organizers conformed that the protest is on today at Parliament.
“Citizens have been allowed to demonstrate at Parliament Minister Kampyongo overturns police denial on appeal. Now we must mobilise quickly. See you at Parliament with your placard. Peacefully we will be heard,” Ms. Miti said.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress NDC says it fully backs plans by the NGOCC to protest outside parliament over Governments continued borrowing.
“As a party, we urge all our party functionaries in Lusaka to join the protests,” says NDC National Secretary Mwenya Musenge.
Mr. Musenge said the intention by well meaning civil society groupings such as NGOCC to speak out on the reckless borrowing by the PF regime is an act of patriotism.
“Ordinary citizens have already started feeling the consequences of the reckless and aimless borrowing by this regime,” he said.
“As NDC, we are worried that the PF has continued contracting new loans without the full approval of parliament. In this regard, we urge the Attorney General who is the Chief Legal Advisor to Government to explain why Cabinet is abrogating the law with impunity over the contraction of loans. As NDC, we also urge our legislators to demand for a detailed report from the Minister of Finance over Zambia’s exact debt,” Mr Musenge said.
He said figures from Government over the staggering debt are highly contradictory.
“In the midst of all this, we further demand that Government immediately stops contracting new loans. The NDC is also disappointed that President Edgar Lungu has allowed his salary and allowances to be increased. If Presided Lungu truly cares for his people, we urge him to reverse the hike this of his personal emoluments,” he said.
He added, “Its unfair that the Presidents emoluments can be increased amidst fiscal measures announced by Government to reduce public spending.”