Sean Tembo, PeP President
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) we are saddened by the continued harassment of opposition candidates by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the Kwacha and Kabushi Parliament By-election, with Mr. Shadreck Mumba of UPPZ party being the latest to be summoned by ACC for no clear reasons, barely three days before the day of the polls.
2. It must be noted that an election period is a very delicate period for voters, and the summoning of a candidate by law enforcement agencies has the potential to create a misconception that such a candidate is a criminal, in the eyes of the electorate, and potentially adversely affect the performance of the candidate during polls.
3. If any of the Candidates in the Kwacha and Kabushi Parliamentary by-elections are suspected of committing an offence, why can’t the ACC wait until after the by-elections before summoning them, in the interest of fairness, transparency and equity?
4. As Patriots for Economic Progress, it is evident to us that the continued harassment of candidates amounts to a weaponization of law enforcement agencies by President Hakainde Hichilema, so as to achieve an unfair advantage over the opposition in the upcoming by-elections. Therefore, the outcome of the by-elections is unlikely to reflect the free will of the people of Kwacha and Kabushi.
5. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we further bemoan the silence of civil society organizations, the church and traditional leaders in the face of various atrocities which the New Dawn administration is perpetrating against democracy, institutions of democracy and players in the democratic space. Civil society organizations, the church and traditional leaders should wake up from their slumber and contribute to the provision of checks and balances with the same vigor and tenacity with which they did under the previous regime, otherwise they risk being perceived as an arm and extension of the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND).
6. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to further advise President Hakainde Hichilema to cease and desist from undermining our democracy through the weaponization of law enforcement agencies against the opposition. As a matter of fact, law enforcement agencies have greater potential to damage our democracy when they are used to harass the opposition, than political cadres. Therefore, you cannot reduce harassment by political cadres but replace it with harassment by the Police and claim that you have made progress. Zambia and the Zambian people deserve a properly functioning democracy and not a facade of a properly functioning democracy.
Thank you and May God Bless the People of Zambia and our Ailing Nation.