(Speech delivered by MMD President Nevers Sekwila Mumba at the UPND Press Briefing – 24th August, 2016)
As a nation, we have reached a critical crossroads in the governance of our great country after the the just ended 2016 General Election.
The PF and Mr. Lungu are in great panic and their desperate activities are causing unnecessary agitation in the nation leading Zambia on a dangerous path because if they really believed that they won this election, they should be the most relaxed party in the nation and not have cadres and army personnel on the streets. We call on them to remove the cadres from the streets. We also call on them to free private media houses; the Post Newspaper, Muvi TV, Komboni and Itezhi-tezhi radio stations to operate freely without interference. We also call upon them to allow the tax-payer funded ZNBC to report freely and cover every Zambian’s view instead of just being a mouth-piece for Mr. Edgar Lungu, Mrs. Esther Lungu and PF propaganda.
Their arbitrary behavior to close these media houses confirm that they have acknowledged what they did wrong in the last election. The guilty are afraid.
The opposition is the side behaving as government. Instead of perpetrating violence they have gone to the Courts of Law while the PF have gone to the streets for endless solidarity marches. We call on them to suspend these pointless marches and instead show solidarity with the courts and allow them to arbitrate in a calm environment instead of constantly driving around the courts disturbing the peace and issuing threats against some of the Constitutional Court judges.
We have confidence in our judicial system and are patient enough to give them room to guide the nation through these stormy waters.
The strategy PF is using is the most dangerous and yet most effective in causing carnage in a country. It worked in Rwanda and managed to trigger the loss of more than 800,000 people.
They used a biased media undergirded by a compromised church. Today, all public media is peddling the PF propaganda and the opposition has no voice. The private media has been closed to completely black out the story of the opposition. For Example: The Chairman of Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) which shut down the MUVI station is the husband of the founder of ‘Christians for Lungu.’ This relationship between the so-called church and media reminds all of us of Rwanda.
A group of church leaders in Rwanda worked with the establishment to ignite the genocide. A pastor worked with the government and allowed the slaughter of over 2,000 worshipers who had sought refuge in his church and refused to help send for the police to protect them.
It must be noted that the IBA came into exisistence because the MMD Government decided to introduce a liberalized democratic dispensation when it came to power in 1991, part of which was a free press. This led to the establishment of a multiplicity of electronic and print media houses all across the country to allow Zambians to speak freely and be heard.
What recently started with the silencing of the Post newspaper is now rapidly turning out to be a systematic clamp down on all privately owned media houses leaving only ZNBC the mouth-piece for Mr. Edgar Lungu, Mrs. Lungu and the Patriotic front.
We have had 5 presidents since Zambia introduced the liberalized democratic dispensation and I am proud to say that none of these have attempted to muzzle the press the way Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu is doing in his short time as president. We will not allow this freedom to be tampered with on flimsy charges.
With a stifled and silenced private media, there is now propaganda that it is the opposition and Hakainde Hichilema in particular, who is pushing for violence. The truth is that the PF have adopted the most diabolical strategy of burning markets themselves and then blame the UPND and thereafter send their “savior” Mr. Lungu to appear to ‘comfort’ the affected. They are using the Rwanda script to the letter. Information has already been received that they plan to burn more markets themselves around the country and then blame UPND.
The Namwala story is the same kind of fabrication. Why has Mr. Lungu not gone to Namwala to see for himself what is happening there?
The Namwala story is one classic story. They got a picture from a South African publication taken during the period of xenophobic attacks on foreigners and called it Namwala. We have studied the pictures in the newspaper they used and the police in those pictures are wearing South African uniforms, Namwala police station is not that developed and there are no such electricity pylons over Namwala police station. The question is; what do they want to achieve apart from starting ethnic violence? As a result of what is being reported, we have received information that the BEMBA royal establishment maybe having a meeting this Friday to decide how to defend their people who are being brutalized in Southern Province. We don’t know what this could bring. We therefore call upon all our traditional leaders not to fall into the trap of desperate politicians who have seen the sun setting on their ill-gotten power.
The PF could be trying to justify declaration of a state of emergency.
LOVE SHALL DEFEAT HATE
In Conclusion, I want to tell the story of the Berlin wall that was built between East and West Berlin at the height of the Cold War. East Berlin threw garbage onto the Western side. The West threw back food and other essential supplies.
Only love can defeat hate. We should defeat violence by offering peace.