Alliance for Community Action executive director Laura Miti says President Edgar Lungu’s decision to hand over 10 per cent stake of the Black Mountain to jerabos indicates that he is a scared leader being held at ransom by lawless people.

Speaking to New Diggers in an interview, Wednesday, Miti wondered whether everyone who had problems needed to send threatening voice notes to the President in order to be heard like the jerabos did.

“I think most citizens have heard voice notes that have been going around in the last few weeks and months. To a large extent, the voice notes were of PF cadres complaining about being left out of the feasts that are going on involving those that are in power. So you get a sense that those at the bottom felt as though those in power and those around the President were enjoying the national resources while those that worked hard to get the President into power were being left. This particular working hard sounds as though it is not particularly lawful because in some of the voice notes, you have these jerabos and these cadres talking about the violence or the fights that they went through to get the President into power,” Miti said.

And Miti observed that President Lungu had been threatened into changing policy.

“So when that Black Mountain is given back to these jerabos, we citizens have been left with no option but to believe that the President has been threatened into changing policy. The black mountain does not belong to the PF, that mountain is a national resource. So decisions made around the black mountain should be for the best interest of the whole country. In this case, if you see the PF leaders matching in the city of Kitwe and jerabos breaking the law, driving [their cars] in reverse and doing all kinds of things, you then get to sense that the PF have taken a national resource and handed over to its members and or the so-called jerabos because of 2021. And that is all we are hearing about, because even in the voice notes what we heard about is 2021, ‘if you don’t do this, 2021’. so we have realised as Alliance for Community Action, because we work around public resource, we feel that this is a most unfortunate and frightening move by the PF and by the President,” she said.

Miti wondered what would happens to the rest of the country if the President was going to be threatened into making decisions.

“Should UNZA also riot and send voice notes to the President in order to be opened? Should CBU send voice notes in order to be opened? Should traders also send voice notes in order to be brought back to the streets? And then the rest of us when we don’t find medicine in the hospitals, should we also send voice notes to the President? All I am saying is that the President must run this country according to well set out policies, not because he is desperate to be elected in 2021. And those of us that are not in PF and as a general citizenry, we seem to be watching a situation in which the President and the PF are running the country for their own benefit. They are being held at ransom by people who are well known to be lawless. I think the President also needs to change,” said Miti.

“The president and his leadership should sit down and reflect. That way we can begin to give them respect as the ruling party. Being a ruling party means running the whole country. It does not mean taking the public resources and using them to hide or win the votes, or to silence those that are threatening you. So for me, this whole situation comes across as though we have a President who is desperate, who is scared and is held to ransom by a very lawless part of our country. While we understand that it is the issue of unemployment, and I understand the desperation of the jerabos, I understand the desperation of the PF youths. But all I am saying is that the PF youths and the jerabos are part of a wider problem. We have a crisis of unemployment in this country, we have a crisis of school places. The PF needs to respond to all that. There responses should not be to a particular section that will put them into power but to understand that we have a major problem in the country of unemployment and their responses should be at a national level.”