Zambia’s democracy is slipping away while citizens are watching helplessly and in fear, the OASIS Forum has observed.
And the OASIS forum, which is a consortium comprising The Council of Churches, NGOCC, the Law Association of Zambia, and Catholic Bishops, says the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary have lamentably failed to meet the aspirations of the people of Zambia.
This was contained in a statement released today by OASIS Forum and LAZ president Linda Kasonde.
“We were once a democracy. Today our democracy is slipping away while many of us watch along the side-lines feeling helpless, voiceless and afraid. The institutions of government mandated to serve us: the executive, legislature and judiciary are lamentably failing to meet the expectations of the people. Our democratic institutions are falling far short of upholding the tenets of democracy and the rule of law. Vicious rivalry between the warring political parties of the ruling patriotic front and the opposition United Party for National Development has become the order of the day and it is we , the people of Zambia who are suffering,” Kasonde said.
“Our youth have no jobs, our health facilities are poorly staffed and poorly stocked, our children’s standards of education are falling, our freedoms are being abused and infringed upon, and our peace, once a source of great pride is now under threat. We now live under a cloud of fear that prevents us from expressing who we really are. The Bemba people have a saying ‘Imbwa ya Mukali tayi chenjela.’ Loosely translated it means that a child raised to be fearful of his parents will not prosper. We are indeed a very poor nation in every respect. Gone is our pride.”
The Oasis Forum observed that the country had reached a point where the national flag no longer represented a symbol of unity and national identity because hatred and divisions had threatened to lower the flag to half-mast.
“We have reached a point in our history where our flag no longer represents a symbol of our common purpose and identify. The ugliness of hatred and division threatens to lower our flag to half-mast. We have come to a point in time where we have to choose prosperity over poverty; peace and unity over destruction and despair. That choice is the power that lies in the hands of every Zambian citizen regardless of race, tribe, creed, gender or political affiliation, to say that enough is enough. If we do not participate in governance of our country, we will only have ourselves to blame if we lose all that we hold dear. Silence is consent. We must speak out to reclaim our nation and once again raise our flag as a symbol of our national pride. Zambia is bigger than any individual in the nation,” stated Kasonde.
“Political leadership should not only be about amassing votes; it should be about serving the people. As stated in the Biblical parable of the faithful servant: to whom much is given, much is expected. Our leaders in the government and in the opposition hold the fate of the nation in their hands and we the people of Zambia expect them to use their power wisely, above selfish interest, in the best interests of every Zambian citizen.”
She said the Oasis Forum would soon roll out activities to reaffirm its voice on governance issues.
“We the Oasis Forum are calling on all Zambians from all walks of life irrespective of tribe, religion, race, gender, or political affiliation to stand up for a Zambia that we can be proud of. United as ‘One Zambia, One Nation.’ We are calling on Zambians to participate in the Oasis Forum’s lawful peace-building initiatives that will be rolled out over the next few weeks to reaffirm that our voice matters and that we are indeed stronger in unity, stronger as one,” stated Kasonde.