Alliance for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti says the successful “Yellow Card” anti-corruption campaign that was staged, Saturday, is the start of bringing citizens together and telling public office bearers that power belongs to the people.
In an interview, Miti said the success of the anti-corruption campaign should encourage citizens across Zambia to stand up against current vices that were undermining the country’s development.
“It is the start of bringing citizens together across board, to raise our voices together and let power holders know that power really belongs to us. What we do hope is that within the districts themselves, people would believe that we have a problem in the country; we will come together. So, what we want is citizens in their own groupings to stand up together and say ‘no’ to the situation which we are in. The Yellow Card campaign will continue to raise a voice. Essentially the Yellow Card campaign is really trying to get citizens to combine their voices. The idea is not to create an organisation; it is to get a movement going, and a movement is people in whatever spaces they are coming from, getting together and raising their voices,” Miti said.
“You will soon expect to hear from us and from citizens on particular issues. You see, the country is in very bad place, and we hope government responds= and begins to, for example, deal with corruption systematically and concretely. We also hope that the government does not table the Constitution Amendment Bill. If that happens, then we in civil society would go back to doing what we do every day, hold government to account through our work and our system. But right now, we do have a sense of panic that if we sit down quietly, the country is headed to a very bad place where it might be very difficult to come from, they say prevention is better than cure.”
And in responding to PF media director Sunday Chanda, who challenged the Yellow Card protestors to disclose their source of funding, Miti explained that the event was unfunded.
“If Mr Chanda didn’t ask that question then we would be very surprised so even before we were asked, we would have written it for him; we know that response is going to come up. Anybody who was at the campaigns saw that it was unfunded. We didn’t even have proper sound systems so anybody who was there saw that it was unfunded. I think the cost of T-shirts, which we were selling so that we could pay for the people who had printed it, he knows. The thing with PF they are very aware if they really thought we were funded, they would have put concrete facts on the table, but they know it wasn’t; everybody who was there knows it wasn’t. We made the stage ourselves; we painted it; we did everything. The only thing where money went were those T-shirts which were sold. Like I said, it is not something to be worried about; if Mr Chanda did not ask that question, then you will be very sure that your event has been unsuccessful. It was a very big success! People came out; people raised their voices. People from cross-section of society; older people; young people middle-classes; politicians and former politicians,” explained Miti.
And musician Fumba Chama, popularly known as Pilato, said it was satisfying to know that people had decided to hold their leaders accountable.
“What I can assure is that people have decided to hold their leaders accountable and that is not stopping now, and we will continue questioning; we will continue asking questions and interrogating until forever! So, that Yellow Card protest was more of a launch of an active citizenry that will keep asking questions. It has nothing to do with who’s in power today. It’s about becoming active participants in their own governance so that is the Yellow Card campaign agenda. It was a very huge success! At the moment, what I can say to you is that the people of Zambia have decided to hold their leaders accountable. They will question their decisions, their behaviour, their expenditure. The people of Zambia have decided to come together for that specific purpose. Obviously, you should expect a lot of Yellow Card arrangements like I said, that was a start,” said Pilato.