Former Attorney General Musa Mwenye State Counsel says oppressive and dictatorial regimes always despise citizens who criticise them, but says it is the patriotic duty of those who are governed to speak out in defence of their Constitutional rights.

In his festive statement shared on Facebook, Musa who also served as Solicitor General under late Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front, urged citizens to show love to their families this Christmas, and encouraged critics to show loyalty and patriotism to the country by speaking out against wrongs in society.

“December is a month in which we ought to focus on love. Love for our families but also love and patriotism for our country. The word ‘patriotism’ is often misunderstood and sometimes deliberately misrepresented. Criticism of Governments or ruling parties and comments adverse of governments are routinely classified as unpatriotic. By definition, patriotism is a devoted love, support and defense for one’s country. Patriotism is therefore loyalty to the country and not loyalty to any one person or group of persons,” Mwenye said.

He went on to list countries that had oppressive regimes and never tolerated critical voices.

“Africa has seen several dictatorial and corrupt regimes. At different times in the history of this continent, patriotism has demanded that those Governments which are corrupt and dictatorial be criticised and condemned by citizens for abusing the countries we love. The Central African Republic had Emperor Bokassa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) had Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga while Uganda had Idi Amin Dada Oumee. Just to the south of our own Beloved Zambia we had Ian Smith in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) who declared Independence from his Kith and Kin in England under Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). In South Africa we had the racist Apartheid government,” he recalled.

“All the governments cited above were vile, oppressive and dictatorial. In some cases they were also corrupt, incompetent and uncouth. In those countries, it was everyone’s patriotic duty to speak out against these regimes and to condemn their senseless acts of oppression and misrule. It was also the highest form of patriotism not only to condemn the needless corruption of some of these regimes (whose scale could only be correctly described as a primitive accumulation of wealth), but also to take a stand against oppression and corruption.”

He stressed that patriotism is never supposed to mean loyalty to an individual.

“Patriotism demands us to be loyal to the country and not to an individual or a political formation. If acts of economic sabotage are committed by those within our groupings or political formations, we must speak in defence of the country. A Merry Christmas and prosperous 2019 to all friends, family and Patriotic Zambians. May Zambia continue to experience peace, tranquility and prosperity in 2019 and beyond,” stated Mwenye.