United Party for National Development (UPND) National Chairperson Mutale Nalumango has said that the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) must respond to the concerns raised by America Ambassador to Zambia Daniel L. Foote, about status of governance.
During the observance of he 243rd anniversary of the independence of the United States of America, the US Ambassador said that everybody wanted good governance that effectively utilizes resources and improves the lives of families, before going on to say that Zambia’s reputation as a strong democracy in international reporting has slipped, partly driven by divisive politics and a sub-optimal focus on the welfare of the Zambian people.
In a statement released to the media, the UPND National Chairperson said that the issues pointed out by the US Ambassador are of serious nature and hence demand a public response from the ruling party.
Below is the full statement
We wish to express our deepest apprehension that the PF Government has up to now failed to respond to serious concerns raised by His Excellency Daniel L. Foote, the United States of American Ambassador to Zambia regarding the status of governance in this country.
In his public remarks made during the commemoration of the United States of America’s 243rd independence anniversary, Ambassador Foote was candid and sincere in his pronouncements when he unequivocally appealed to the ruling party to address certain issues of concern currently negatively affecting Zambia’s governance system.
The issues pointed out by the Ambassador are of serious nature and hence demand a public response as they were made publicly, not behind closed doors. It is therefore imperative that Government reciprocates by addressing these matters through the same method, so that citizens are well informed on government’s position with regard to the American Diplomat’s sentiments.
The fact that there was a Cabinet Minister who officiated on behalf of the State doesn’t absolve government from stating its position on these serious observations raised by the United States through its representative in this country.
For the record we will refresh the mind of Government on concerns raised by His Excellency Ambassador Foote who went on an interactive tour to all the ten provinces of Zambia.
1. Zambia’s reputation as a strong democracy has slipped because of divisive politics.
2. Zambians are sick of political party cadres and corruption.
3. Zambians want government to focus less on unending campaigning but instead be responsive to the needs of all citizens
4. Zambians want government to be transparent and accountable on debt contracting and acquisition to curtail corruption by ‘politically connected individuals’ (PCI)
5. Citizens want the speedy enactment of the Freedom of Information bill that will make it possible to publish debt and procurement arrangements.
6. Zambians want disclosure of assets of government officials to mitigate corruption and improve trust.
7. Zambians wants government not to use excuse of “fake news” to suppress or persecute individuals and media organizations for expressing dissenting views.
The matters raised by His Excellency Foote is what the UPND has been stating for a long time but our counterparts in government were saying we were bitter and jealous of them.
We doubt whether the American Ambassador has any reason of being bitter and jealous of our friends in government and yet he has expressed the same things we have stated over and over again. We therefore challenge the PF government to respond with a well laid out statement and not a silly tweet coming from Dora Siliya. Zambians have the right to be correctly informed.