By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party
There’s an illegal, unethical and unacceptable practice by our intelligence and security agencies that is becoming accepted as a normal and legal practice. This is the surveillance of opposition leaders and the gathering of information about their election campaign strategies and activities and passing that to the leadership of the ruling UPND and Mr Hakainde Hichilema.
The intelligence and security agencies are today being abused by Mr Hichilema as part of his political and electoral machinery. Such acts and abuses of the intelligence and security agencies to manipulate the political and electoral processes should not be tolerated. This UPND government of Mr Hichilema is using intelligence and security agencies to serve its political purpose and spy on opposition leaders and keep track of even its own allies and party leaders.
Such acts subvert the democratic system and breed an atmosphere of illegality in the higher echelons of the government. They cannot and should not be tolerated. Protecting the covert activities of intelligence and security agencies cannot and should not be made the pretext for such abuses and illegality.
In order to prevent the continuation of such practices, there’s a need to put in place a clear set of guidelines prohibiting the use of intelligence and security agencies for any form of surveillance of opposition political leaders and their election campaigns. Instructions on surveillance on grounds of national security or investigation of criminal activity must be codified. The intelligence and security agencies must be subject to parliamentary oversight.
This UPND government of Mr Hichilema is misusing and abusing the intelligence and security agencies to gather information about the campaign strategies and activities of opposition political leaders in order to prolong their survival, instead of using them to gather information about the activities of anti-national, transnational corporations and foreign armies they have brought into our country.
This is an unethical, unconstitutional and shameful act on the part of Mr Hichilema and his government. He is resorting to such despotic actions as he has failed to perform on all fronts other than boasting, posturing and globetrotting – making him seemingly insecure and prompting such despotic actions.
This is an outright violation of laws and a bizarre infringement of our fundamental rights. I hope I will not be challenged to provide evidence of this. I have deliberately decided to be general and avoid naming officers who I have personally confronted following me. This is because I very well understand the value and importance of these institutions if put to good and proper use. No nation has made good progress without these institutions operating efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner. I am not out to undermine or destroy these necessary institutions. I simply want them to function in the right way, to do things the right way even if it calls for the greatest effort.