Former Secretary to Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says those attacking former Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Lusaka Telesphore Mpundu for predicting violence in the run up to the 2021 general elections in the absence of national dialogue are hypocrites.

And Dr Sacika says the PF government must ensure that the Public Order Act, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Act, media laws and other impediments to the realization of a true democratic dispensation are reformed before 2021 if they do not want Archbishop Mpundu’s warning to come to pass.

In an interview, Dr Sacika said Archbishop Mpundu was an honest man.

“Telesphore Mpundu is an honourable and honest man, those attacking him over the statement he made concerning the need for dialogue are dishonest and they are hypocritical. Every game must have its own rules of engagement which are agreed upon by all the players. Even the modern welfare has its rules of engagement. The proposed dialogue is intended to set out and agree on rules of engagement in our politics. Although Zambia is a constitutional multi-party democracy, the country is being ruled as a one party state where opposition politics are criminalised or barely tolerated; where leaders of opposition political parties are hunted down like common criminals; where citizens cannot assemble for political purposes; where state institutions and resources are used to advance the political interests of the PF as a political party in government; where the PF and all those associated with it, including cadres, are above the law. This is the unhealthy political situation that has developed in our country, a situation of extreme injustice to those exercising their political rights of belonging to political parties of their choice,” Dr Sacika said.

“The peace of a country depends on justice. It is irresponsible for people to be talking about peace without talking about justice. If we want a peaceful Zambia, we must remove injustices and create a society where people will feel that they are being treated fairly. Before the elections in 2021, the Public Order Act must be reformed because it has been abused by the police for political reasons. The Electoral Commission of Zambia must be reformed, ZNBC must be freed from PF government control, media laws must be reformed and all impediments to the realization of a true and democratic political dispensation must be removed. If these things are not attended to, the fears expressed by Telesphore Mpundu could materialise.”

Dr Sacika warned that Zambia would experience chaos if those in power did not heed Archbishop Mpundu’s warning.

“Zambians should not think that they are immune to the chaos taking place in other countries. We are a very fragile country that can break up into pieces any time. Unless we put ourselves together, Telesphore Mpundu’s warning should be viewed in this context that lesson number one to those condemning Telesphore should be that dialogue is something that must be a continuous process. People should sit down and sort out their differences. Otherwise, there will be confusion,” said Dr Sacika.