PF greatly values existence and expansion of the opposition

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CHIEF government spokesperson Mwansa Kapeya says the Patriotic Front (PF) greatly values the continued existence and expansion of the opposition in the country because that is what democracy is all about.
Mr Kapeya, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, added that Government has no problems with being criticised as long as the criticism was founded on fairness and fact.
Mr Kapeya was speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka yesterday at which he restated the importance of free expression and association following opposition UPND’s holding of their rally in Lusaka’s Mandevu township on Sunday.
“The PF government believes in peaceful co-existence and ultimately in multiparty democracy,” Mr Kapeya said.  “Therefore, this government does not believe in stifling political opponents. It treasures their existence and constructive criticism.”
He congratulated the opposition UPND and its leadership for holding a peaceful rally in Mandevu on Sunday, which was well secured by State police.
Mr Kapeya said the police only allowed the UPND to hold the rally because they had enough man-power to avert any possible disturbance.
“Government does not interfere in the operations of such critical wings of government like the police. We want them to operate professionally,” he said.
“That the UPND rally was allowed to go ahead yesterday [on Sunday] in Mandevu, means police assessed the situation and were convinced that the rally could take place.”
Mr Kapeya said it is good that the crowd was disciplined and there were no reports of any confusion.
In the past, Government has been accused of blocking the opposition from holding rallies and using “draconian laws”.
Mr Kapeya said in the past, the police deemed it fit not to allow political rallies based on their own security assessments.
He said Government is doing a lot in governance, including allowing all Zambians to participate in the constitution-making process.
Mr Kapeya also commended National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo for the maturity he has exhibited in politics.
He said while Government welcomes constructive criticism, it does not believe that the opposition should always oppose.
“I would like to commend NAREP president Elias Chipimo for the mature manner in which he is conducting his politics,” Mr Kapeya said.
On Sunday, Mr Chipimo commended President Sata for allowing former president Rupiah Banda to travel outside the country for medical treatment,” he said.
Mr Banda is appearing in court to answer some charges.
On Sunday, Mr Chipimo told journalists that granting permission to the opposition to hold rallies is an indication of a new approach by the PF government to governing the country.

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