MMD leader Nevers Mumba says his party hopes South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Zambia will provide an opportunity for the visiting Head of State to press President Edgar Lungu to be more accountable in his governance.

In a statement, Mumba also welcomed Zuma and hoped that his visit would strengthen the cordial relations between the two countries.

“Zambians warmly welcome the South African President Mr Jacob Zuma to our Country, and hope his visit will further improve the existing fraternal relationships between the ANC and the people of Zambia, that date back to the dark days of apartheid. We are keen followers of South African parliamentary politics, and appreciate its vibrancy and candour, which has in certain instances not necessarily favoured the President, but we have been moved with nothing but great admiration that he has still remained, firm, resolute and accommodating to those with opposing views to his, despite several lawmakers’ sometimes racous dissensions and walkouts on his State of the Union addresse,” Mumba said.

“As a matter of fact, we are reminded of his sideline press briefing in Durban a few months ago, where he stated that South Africa under his watch would allow freedoms of expression for all its citizens, and would not fall into a trap of dictatorship being experienced in other Countries where freedoms were endangered.”

He asked Zuma to mount pressure on President Lungu.

It’s in view of the foregoing that we firmly believe that Mr Zuma is well positioned to put pressure on his beleaguered Zambian counterpart, President Edgar Lungu and remind him that elected officials need to be held accountable for their actions or inactions. Mr Lungu has crossed the red line in the history of Zambia’s political discourse, by abrogating all democratic tenets with impunity. His dictatorial tendencies is well on course to erase last traces of democratic governance as we know it in Zambia,” said Mumba.

“His sustained efforts of flouting democratic norms is well displayed in persecution by prosecution of political opponents, trumped up criminal charges of those with dissenting views, long jail terms mostly without trial for those that refuse to do his bidding, and unleashing of Police and his militias to brutalise and torture anyone who dares to think differently from him.”

He reminded Zuma of the threats that the PF government under President Lungu posed on the Zambian press.

“President Lungu has not ended there but has gone further by ensuring that most of the free press has been closed, while the remainder is under constant threat of closure and it’s staff have been intimidated and sometimes arrested. Zambians are in dire need of a voice at this dark hour, as the Nation is under siege by a threat of dictatorship and the breakdown of the rule of law, and the demise of constitutionalism. It would not be asking too much if Zambians requested South Africa to reciprocate, by simply standing with us at the darkest hour of our history,” said Mumba.

“It is our fervent prayer that President Zuma will carry this message to President Lungu rather than opt for meaningless state banquet praise speeches, that our SADC subregion is known for.”