Monday, June 17, 2024

The Lawlessnes of UPND Cadres

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By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

It’s shocking that UPND cadres can storm a radio station, stop a broadcast and chase away someone being interviewed. This is what happened to Mr EEP President Chilufya Tayali in Chingola. As if stopping the broadcast was not bad enough, they forced Mr Tayali out of Chingola. These cadres are known and are bragging about it. But no arrests!

What type of law enforcement is this? Are UPND cadres above the law? What would be the situation if this was done by opposition cadres to a UPND leader? This is not a small issue. It’s a very serious matter. It’s a violation of a fundamental human right – freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is the freedom for us all to express ourselves. It is the right to speak, to be heard, and to participate in political, artistic, and social life. It also includes the ‘right to know’: the right to seek, receive, and share information through any media.

When you share your views or seek out information, online or off, you’re exercising your right to freedom of expression. When you criticise your government for not living up to its promises, you’re exercising your right to freedom of expression.

When you question or debate religious, political, social, or cultural practices, you’re exercising your right to freedom of expression. When you attend a peaceful protest, or organise one, you’re exercising your right to freedom of expression.

When you create a work of art, you’re exercising your right to freedom of expression. When you comment on a news article – whether you’re supporting it or criticising it – you’re exercising your right to freedom of expression. And when the journalist published or broadcast this, so was she.

Why is freedom of expression important?

Freedom of expression is fundamental to political dissent, diverse cultural expression, creativity, and innovation, as well as the development of one’s personality through self-expression.

Freedom of expression enables dialogue, builds understanding, and increases public knowledge. When we can freely exchange ideas and information, our knowledge improves, which benefits our communities and societies.

Freedom of expression also enables us to question our governments, which helps to keep them accountable. Questioning and debate are healthy – they lead to better policies and more stable societies. “You can’t say that!” is all too often the response of those in power to having their power challenged. To accept that certain things cannot be said is to accept that certain forms of power cannot be challenged’

The problems we all face are complex. If we cannot freely exchange ideas and information, then we are all deprived of the potential solutions.
Freedom of expression is a foundational right, meaning it is essential for the enjoyment and protection of all human rights. With the right to freedom of expression, every person, every community, and every society can ask for the most fundamental things they need.

Like water, food, shelter, and clean air.

Healthcare, education for our children, decent work, and fair wages. For the freedom to practise the faith of our choice or none, to love and marry whoever we want, and to stand in solidarity with those who suffer. And for rich and poor to be treated equally before the law.
In other words, freedom of expression is the lifeblood of democracy.

Democracy is built on the right to dissent, on the right for people to hold opposing positions. Our society needs freedom of expression to protect us from the worst atrocities that our government can visit on its citizens. Does freedom of expression mean we can say whatever we like?

While the right to freedom of expression is fundamental, it is not absolute. This means it can be limited in exceptional circumstances.

It is vital that we distinguish between:
– speech that encourages violence and discrimination against people (e.g. intentional incitement to racial hatred), which should be prohibited; and
– speech that criticises or challenges ideas or the status quo (e.g. criticising a government, nation, or religious idea), which should be protected – even if it is offensive or unpopular – because it lets us learn about different ideas and challenge those in power.

Without the freedom to offend, freedom of expression ceases to exist. Religions, governments, and flags cannot be harmed – only people can. That’s why human rights protects people – not ideas, states, or religions.

Likewise, any restrictions on free speech should only protect people from harm, not governments from criticism. And it’s people with the least power who need the most protection. Censorship is a political tool and its advocates may cite religious orthodoxy or any other dogmatic belief to claim the moral high ground and silence or even murder those they disagree with.

Who protects our right to freedom of expression?

Freedom of expression is protected under international law (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). This means that nearly every State in the world is obliged to protect the right to freedom of expression.

Therefore, politicians and public officials must create an enabling environment for freedom of expression, not diminish it. But freedom of expression is so fundamental to each and every one of us – from civil society to journalists, educators, writers, artists, lawyers, and activists – that we all have an obligation to stand up for it. Including you and I.

There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.

19 COMMENTS

  1. This kind of behaviour has no blessings of the UPND leadership and the party has not been silent on the issue. And this is different from the PF leadership which silently looked the other way as terror was being perpetrated in its name. Fred M’membe should be honest enough to face the obvious truth he knows well.

  2. These rifruffs even make Lusaka look more filthy….as it is Lusaka is filthy…cabbage everywhere and now add dirty looking thugs roaming the streets….Sata is the one who started these games of empowering cadres…..and passed on the button to UPND…nothing has really changed
    Like i said Mmembe talks sense but I think it’s because he is in opposition….once he gets into office his language will be exactly the opposite just like HH

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    • I agree with Fred, arrest those thugs.
      Remember when Kambwili did the same to your Frank Bwalya? People are still in PF mentality.

    • Too much freedom is proving harmful to the user, it’s becoming worse than marjwana. The family and friends of Chilufya Tayali should protect him from abuse. Those who are using him for their convience don’t like him at all, very soon he will be abandon. At the moment he needs to seat down and reflect, seek prayers if possible. In fact he can get an open and honest counsel from the President if he sums up the courage.

  3. The blame lies SQUARELY on Chilufya Tayali himself. Why did he not call the police to protect him? If he had done so and the police had refused to do their job then, he and you Mr Mmembe can complain about breakdown in the rule of law. Ladies and gentlemen, we must distinguish between INSTITUTIONAL lawlessness such as we experienced under PF, where the State organs themselves are used to brutalise citizens and senior police officers turn up at the Chipata airport to stop a man from entering the city, and lawlessness by individuals not sanctioned by the State or ruling party. Tayali can lodge a complaint and have those people arrested.

  4. There is no freedom to insult some people. At the same time, there is no freedom to take the law into your hands but there is a right to peaceful demonstration. These cadres were peaceful. They took Tayali out of Chingola peacefully in order to preserve peace. His utterances were bound to touch on some raw nerves if left to continue. Prevention is better than cure.

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    • Hmmm Nkosi! please revisit your brain bank. That the cadres acted in a peaceful manner to administer what you deem “prevention is better than cure”. Are you sure it’s the cadres job to determine what message is cure or not? That cadres can telegraph into the future and assess the outcome of the interview? Muleicindika and be objective, cadres can never be impartial, their allegiance is to their own party.

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  5. For once I agree with tiyali……….

    The president is a f00l to repeal that defermation law…………..

    If anything , that law protected the people hurling the virulent accusations and the podiums hosting them from irate citizens………

    It’s like someone hurls what you deem insults and false accusations at your parents………this invites violence.

    The national airwaves and space are a dangerous place to forment hatred………..

    Ask the ruwandans about the how the genocide started……..

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  6. Okay, we have heard about cadres. Now talk about bread and butter issues and tell us what you will do in the unlikely event that you are voted into office

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  7. I posted a measured response to this, without any insults at all and it went to an LT editor for moderation and he or she has removed it. And yet what I see above is just insults. What is going on at Lusaka Times? Did someone buy you?

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  8. One may not agree with Fred Mmembe for all sorts of reasons – but at least can agree with his statement. And I have been critical of Fred Mmembe in the past.

    The problem is HH has never condemned his cadres – when he was in opposition or in power. 2 people were killed by UPND Cadres on election day of August 2011 in Southern and Western Province because they were no-go areas. HH has never condemned or addressed those deaths. Yes, some may say it must be left and dealt with by the police but the voice of a president in power speaks volume. Edgar Lungu also had the same problem dealing with cadres.

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  9. This was all written on the wall that Hakainde has neither the capacity nor the moral compass to change the hooliganism for which the PF were voted out of power despite the arguably good infrastructure programme. Hakainde must be careful if he has this great nation at heart. The early indication seem to suggest that he is a loose cannon bent to appease only his financiers rather than the electorate. He must try as much as possible to serve the people that brought him to power while managing the economic development.

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  10. I meant….. Election day August 11 2021… 2 people were killed in Southern and North Western Provinces

  11. One of the reasons why HH and his UPND were voted into office, was to end this primitive hooligan behavior that was rife in PF administration. HH, however, has shown no appetite to fulfill his promise of ending this. These cadre thugs have no right to storm a radio station, disrupt an interview, and run someone out of town. They need to be arrested immediately for trespassing and harassment. And HH needs to openly condemn this, if he wants people to take him seriously as a protector of freedom of speech. Otherwise, he’ll be no better than ECL and will have to be voted out in 2026.

  12. As tiyali says……..

    Lungu , ……..

    And others were not f00ls to keep that defermation law……..

    The new GRZ will regret this……..

    I think Zambia is one of the few countries in the 3rd world were this none sense of open attacks on GRZ are allowed ……….

    In a country facing harsh economic times, conspiracy theories and insults on airwaves are a dangerous mix…………

    Wait and see what I mean………

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