A cross section of stakeholders in the Copperbelt province have condemned the planned demonstration by some political parties and non-governmental organizations during the hosting of the African Union mid-year coordinating summit.
Kitwe Pastors Fellowship Chairperson Reverend Raddy Lewila told ZANIS that Zambians should avoid anything that will disrupt the successful hosting of the summit.
Pastor Lewila said any disruption of peace in the country will depict a bad picture which can affect the country economically but rather urged politicians to address their issues with relative authorities internally.
“When you have internal challenges, they should be sorted out through the right channels, you do not have to wait for visitors for you to air out your grievances so to carry out demonstrations at a time when the country is hosting a high-profile continental meeting, will make the country appear like it is failing to solve its own problems
thereby giving a bad impression to the visitors and embarrassing the whole country, as the church we feel this is not the right time for anyone to demonstrate over any internal issues,” he said.
And Anti-Voter Apathy Programme (AVAP) Copperbelt Coordinator Poster Jumbe said the country does not have any urgent matters to warrant holding of protests when the country is hosting an important event which can be used to market the country as a potential investment destination.
He has since urged local entrepreneurs to position themselves on how they can benefit from the summit through their businesses.
“There is nothing urgent for us to say we need to demonstrate now, there are no such issues, if there is any issue then we should engage relevant authorities contrary to street protests,” he said.
In addition, Democracy, Governance and Human Rights Advocacy (DEGHA) coordinator Gerald Mutelo acknowledged that it is a wrong time for any group of people to conduct protests against internal matters as the country will be hosting the summit. Mr. Mutelo said this is time to market Zambia to the visitors instead of bringing out internal squabbles.
“Yes, people have the right to protest but this is not time for sorting political scores, Zambians should be thinking about how they can market the country to the visitors as an excellent investment
destination where their investment will be safe,” Mr. Mutelo said.
Home Affairs and Internal security Minister Jack Mwiimbu recently issued a warning to organizations or individuals planning to engage in illegal protests during the African Union Mid-Year Summit which will be hosted by Zambia from July, 14-17 of this month.