Former Lusaka Mayor Mike Mposha has asked the Patriotic Front leadership to tame its cadres and allow people to freely express their opinions about government policies without subjecting them to fear or intimidation.
And Mposha says the only way government can gauge its relevance in a democracy is by controlling the high levels of intolerance and violence within its party and to allow the media to report freely.
Speaking to News Diggers in an interview, Mposha condemned the violent acts that had recently been exhibited by PF cadres.
“Many stakeholders have complained about the undemocratic tendencies in PF or by the Patriotic Front. We need to understand that whatever is done by members of the Patriotic Front, affects all of us. If PF members are going to beat up people and you are covering them, you get affected as a journalist. If PF members are behaving in a manner that is destructive of a particular activity, it affects innocent people. When you embrace politics where day-in day-out you hear people carrying machetes, injuring people, that is not what we want in a multi party state,” Mposha said.
“What we want is a situation where people can compete for ideas. Right now people are scared to speak. The only way in a multi party state that you are going to know that people are not happy with the direction of your policy is to allow them to speak. Allow the media to write about the things that people are talking about. I think the high levels of intolerance should be controlled by PF. High levels of political violence must be controlled. We must ensure that the law applies. If me, as former MMD member, I assault somebody, let the law take its course.”
Mposha further observed that the Zambian economy had not been flourishing due to the corrupt business environment.
“The economy is clearly not doing well because there are a number of issues. People are complaining about high levels of corruption, and this is not just coming from the opposition or those who are critical of PF. The President [Edgar Lungu] the other day was talking about it. Lamenting about the high levels of corruption; that ministers are having huge deposits into their accounts and heavy withdrawals even when there is no clear position that there was a particular transaction befitting such payments,” observed Mposha.
“So when the President is confirming that the levels of corruption have gone too high; politicians are saying that; residents are saying that, what do we need to do? We need relevant authorities to deal with this vice. Business cannot flourish in an environment where there is too much corruption because people who are supposed to bid and win a tender in a fair way are not given a chance.”