NGOCC, ZMA condemn attacks on LAZ

NGOCC says the Patriotic Front must stop hooliganism by their cadres.

And Zambia Medical Association says professional bodies must be protected.

Yesterday, weapon-wielding PF cadres stormed the LAZ secretariat in Lusaka’s Rhodespark area demanding the resignation of its president Linda Kasonde who they accused of having links to the opposition UPND.

Police had to intervene to disperse them.

But in a statement today, NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale condemned the attack, asking the ruling party to stop the hooliganism.

“The levels of lawlessness by the ruling party are appalling and very retrogressive to democratic dispensation. It is totally unacceptable for cadres of the ruling party to conduct themselves in such a barbaric manner. It must be appreciated that LAZ is an autonomous body with clearly articulated governance structures through which measures can be taken should it be established that LAZ had misconducted itself. The actions by the cadres are meant to intimidate LAZ especially its president from discharging her duties as a duly elected leader of the association,” Mwale stated.

Mwale feared that women would start shunning influential positions if attacks on Kasonde and others continued.

“We are especially concerned that if this trend of intimidation of institutions such as LAZ continue, the voices of citizens, especially women, as well as their vested interest will be suppressed even more. We demand that Ms Kasonde be allowed to discharge her duties free of intimidation and personal attacks. As the women’s movement we stand with Ms Kasonde and support her in her endeavors as LAZ president,” she stated.

“We further appeal to the leadership of the PF to immediately stop this hooliganism by its cadres. The ramifications of this trend is obviously stifled freedom of expression and of the press and is an unfortunate recipe for killing our democracy. The women’s movement is therefore calling upon all Zambians to stand up and reject this perpetuation of undemocratic tendencies of the PF.”

And ZMA president Dr Aaron Mujajati, in a separate release, stated that professional bodies needed to be protected.

“As ZMA we take no stance on how LAZ is supposed to conduct its business because it is an independent body of professionals. But we are strongly against perpetrators of intimidation and the notion that anyone can take the law into their own hands because they belong to one political party or the other. The attack on LAZ is especially concerning because it’s done against a professional institution with its own internal processes that govern its operations and handles internal disputes. Members of the public should have confidence in these processses to safe guard public interests. For advancement of our democracy we as a country must learn to resolve our differences in peace. Even when we do not agree one with another we must accept that a difference of opinion is necessary in an open society,” stated Mujajati.

“LAZ cannot be made to change its ways by sticks and stones because you fight ideas with better ideas. As ZMA therefore, we are calling on the various professional bodies, political parties and all peace loving Zambians to come out and condemn the attack on the LAZ secretariat. Furthermore, we are urging the police command to ensure that the perpetrators behind these cowardly acts are brought to book. Today it is LAZ, tomorrow it could be anyone of our professional bodies.”

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