Introduction

Last week, we saw our fellow citizens exercise their freedom of assembly and expression under the banner of Yellow Card campaign. We want to firstly commend the Inspector General of Police and Government for their decision to okay the holding of the public gathering by our colleagues from civil society. This is as it should be in a democratic country like Zambia where the Constitution reigns supreme and guarantees citizens’ fundamental rights.

We of course did not participate in the gathering because, up till now, we have not ascertained the real intention and outcome these yellow card public gathering. Having said that, we state that we welcome some revelations made by organisers of the yellow card campaign that they have evidence of alleged corruption by government officials, and we believe investigative wings are looking forward to receiving formal complaints from organisers.

The exercise of constitutional freedoms and rights, members of the press, also comes with it, obligations and duties on the part of those seeking to continue enjoying these rights. In short, rights come with corresponding duties. We therefore call on our friends to discharge their obligations if these rights are to be enjoyed any further so that we do not just have public gatherings which raise smoke when there may be no fire. We now seek to address the issues raised by the yellow card campaigners:

1. Constitutional Amendment and other law reforms

Last week, we saw Government deferring the process to enact the Electoral Process Amendment Bill and Public Order Bill from Parliament. This deferment has been misreported by some sections of the media that Government has withdrawn the Bills. Our records show that this is incorrect as the Bills are still before Parliament but have been deferred to allow Government table the Constitution Amendment Bill first. This means that the works already done on these two Bills remains valid up till the time the Bills had been considered by the parliamentary committees.

Zambians may recall that each and every citizen was accorded an opportunity to participate at the National Dialogue Forum, which was a consultative forum aimed at coming up with the people-led Bills for consideration by Parliament. Sadly, our colleagues who are today crying wolf! Wolf! And protesting decided to abscond this noble and democratic process. However, the train has already started moving but we encourage them to make their voices heard through submissions to various Parliamentary Committees on all the three bills, including their demands for the Bills to be withdrawn.

We therefore see no reason why people should run to protestation when the doors for engagement and lobbying our members of Parliament are still open. Our understanding of the protests is that they come only when all means of engagement and other civil ways have been exhausted. Currently, the Constitution Amendment Bill is not even before Parliament and so the protestations are not only misplaced but also premature, unfounded and baseless.

2. Reopening of Copperbelt University

We join the student movement led by the Zambia National Students Union and other Unions who have been calling for Government to reopen the Copperbelt University. We re-echo the sentiments we have put forward before that education is an investment and government must pay very particular attention to the challenges the higher education sector is undergoing.

In this regard, we welcome the appointment of Hon Dr. Brian Mushimba as the new Minister of Higher Education who has made his first priority to reopen the Copperbelt University. We shall be meeting with him along other student leaders to find common grounds on how the challenges being faced by our two public universities can be dealt with going forward. Again, we reiterate that the only way to address problems of this nature does not lie in protest before engagement. We must always allow room for dialogue and civil discourse before embarking on any protestation. We also take it that the President of the Republic of Zambia has listened to the cries of students over several matters, including the continued closure of the CBU.

Again, we want to say that protestations on the closure of the CBU are not only misplaced but also premature, unfounded and baseless given that the protestors have not taken any steps to engage and action is already being taken by the current Minister of Higher Education.

3. Rampant Corruption among Government officials

The scourge of corruption concerns each and every Zambian citizen. We must scale up the fight against corruption and ensure perpetrators of corruption – starting with that motorists who entices the police to engage into corruption to the highest level – are brought to book. Corruption is a two way vice although it has always been viewed from the third person point of view: “they” are corrupt. This is a wrong way to fight this scourge. We all must own the fight and fight corruption in a multifaceted manner.

Our theory of change regarding the fight against corruption involve three things: (1) coming up with an effective legal framework and ensuring we remove the comfort zones (2) Strengthening institutions of governance and in particular those mandated to fight financial crimes and corruption, and (3) a robust citizenry who are effective whistle-blowers and discharge the duty to report corruption.

For this purpose, we are concerned with the third one as Government and Parliament has already commendably put in place measures for the attainment of the first and second items. The fight against corruption should not be reduced to a joking matter or grandstanding where people play to the public gallery. It requires a citizenry who are serious enough and courageous enough to report these matters to relevant authorities and allow those authorities to discharge their duties without coercion, undue influence and intimidation.

We therefore call on their colleagues that the allegations against Government officials are so grave and require to be dealt with decisively and expeditiously. We therefore challenge them that these allegations and the evidence they may have should be tendered to the Anti-Corruption Commission without any further delay. We shall be ready to join them and escort them once they put their evidence together.

If we are not seen to be going to make formal complaints to the relevant authorities on the grave allegations that were made during the so-called protests, the organisers may be jeopardising the chances of cooperation from the police to okay such future protests as it will be deemed the organisers are merely grandstanding by playing politics and making wild, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations.

Conclusion

YALI calls on the Minister of Justice to ignore calls by those crying wolf-wolf to withdraw the Constitutional Amendment Bill but urges the Minister to table this Bill in Parliament this week, if anything by tomorrow, since the 30 days have elapsed from time Bill was published. We must all allow the Bill to go through all the processes, including the Committee stage after the Second Reading when amendments can be introduced. We also challenge on our colleagues to make formal complaints of the alleged corruption to investigative wings now that their right to assemble and public make allegations was granted. Our fear is that if they don’t make these formal complaints, it may be difficult to get cooperation of the police to allow them hold such public gatherings in future.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. So this may spell an end to Yellow card campaign? Was missing the quietness of YALI. You keep checks

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    • This crackhead Ntewe is envious of the Yellow card movement of all the attendees of the NDF why is he the loudest as if he owns the process?? He is even surpassing the PF on pushing this toxic agenda … He keeps absurdly asking for evidence in corruption yet reports such as FIC and Auditor generals are available yet not pursued aggressively how would you account for the loss of such massive resources to individual pockets and turn and say bring evidence otherwise don’t protest …are you YALI denying that funds have not been misused? I have never heard you pursue with such passion when glaring evidence of misused public resources is provided by government institutions yet you are on record of always going with the Narrative of the ruling party … You are a shame to this Nation and I…

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    • You are a shame to this Nation and I can see some angry myopic people coming after you when the PF is kicked out of power it happened in 2011 to NGOs that behaved like yours

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    • Ntewewe, opinions are like arseho1es, everyone has them. We know you were implicated in a crime and you are now rotten and a hired gun. So keep your arseho1e to yourself.

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    • Ntewewe discussed

      1. strengthening the legal framework – legal framework can only be strengthened through a pluralism structure of governance. You cannot tell me legal system can strengthen itself – at the moment the legal system is constantly being abrogated by people in power and not being followed.

      2. Strengthening institutions, which ones if people in power are belittling the FIC report and Auditor generals report? These are the only strong institutions amongst many, that are not pulling their weight because of executive interference.

      3. Robust citizens who are effective whistle blowers… your article seem to imply that we give a blind eye to mismanagement and what has been embezzled. We cannot just do that. You say we need to inform authorities, FIC have reported and 89,…

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    • You say we need to inform authorities, FIC have reported and 89, no? We cannot seat idly waiting for compromises institutions to wake up, can we now? What on earth are you on about Ntewewe?

      The #YellowCard and am writing as an individual in my own right, is predicated on the 2 FICs and the Auditor Generals Reports.

      The #YellowCard is edifying the public and this is how democracies operate. Edifying the public. You cannot say in all honesty that this is premature when we have an impending Bill 10 in the CAB amongst many other sickening clauses that will be dehumanising to us.

      In summary your article leaves much to be desired and as an individual, am beginning to see that you may be involved in something unscrupulous.

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  2. It’s sad that we are discussing such issues when we are supposed to be a democracy and protests should be a normal thing. I believe my white Swiss wife Elisa when she says that in Africa there is no democracy rather it is demonstration of crazy or demo crazy

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  3. These are a bunch of failed project organising ti bring confusion. Their god father HH told them to bring Amagedon still have failed. What do you expect from people like Pilato, the devil sent boy? It’s a failed project

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  4. And then Dora Siliya said “only about 100 out of a population of 4 million turned up to demonstrate against corruption in the PF-led government”. A lot of Zambian citizens were actually in support of that yellow card campaign. It is just that they are too scared of losing their jobs. In this harsh economy if someone loses their job, what next? The yellow card campaign will be very clearly demonstrated in the 2021 election results

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  5. Yali even Mwila is crying wolf, wolf. PF temunobe. If you hear HH saying dialogue under the chairmanship of church he knows what he is talking about.

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  6. If it was advisory statement it’s stance, it appears, on let government do there job defeats the purpose because it now just sounds pro government. We can not act or just wait until there is no option but to protest in fact there is no option because talking, screaming, protesting has all been done and nothing so maybe the yellow card will be effective

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  7. Citizen, you think so? I doubt it very much. The reason is there is no formidable opposition currently in Zambia. Mr
    Kambwili, Mr Meembe, Mr HH are all in it because they feel they have a personal bone to chew with Mr ECL. Each time they talk reveals that they are talking for themselves and not for the people. Governments which have failed to restore water supply in places where the infrastructure exists can not solve the much talked about corruption complex. Both the GRZ and the opposition do not know that people are keeping containers of water in their bath rooms for use in their water borne toilets. Ability to solve small issues will give surity to complex issues like corruption. None of our current parties (PF, UPND, NDC, Meembe’s party) have this quality. All are out of touch with…

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    • So what is your suggestion? Are you also one of the armchair critics who can not offer solutions? Atleast HH, Kambwili and Mmembe are trying their best given the hostility they recieve from this political environment spearheaded by one fake humble president.

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