Some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and governance activists have said President Edgar Lungu’s attack on Yellow Card protesters is a threat to citizens who wish to provide information to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

And the CSOs say President Lungu’s statement that the public ignores the protesters for having “baseless concerns” is an indication that ACC lacks independence to operate effectively and impartially.

The CSOs comprising ActionAid Zambia (AAZ), Alliance for Community Action (ACA), Caritas Zambia, Chapter One Foundation, Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CISCA) and governance activists Maiko Zulu and Pilato explained that the protest held on July 20, 2019 outside Parliament building was a voice against bad governance.

“The gathering held by citizens on 20th July 2019 was against bad governance based on what citizens are experiencing. When Zambian citizens complain and protest about corruption, they speak having borne the brunt of the effects of corruption and bad governance. As already stated, reports from various oversight institutions have indicated that there are alarming levels of misuse of public funds which should concern every well-meaning Zambian, including the President. In its 2017 report, the Office of the Auditor General observed ‘…an increase in irregularities for unaccounted for funds, irregular payments, wasteful expenditure, overpayments, failure to follow procurement procedures and misappropriation of funds compared to the previous year’,” the CSOs and governance activists stated in a statement.

“Further, the Financial Intelligence Centre 2018 Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Trends Report showed that tax evasion, corruption, theft, and fraud amounted to K6.1 billion in 2018 alone – up from 4.5 billion in 2017. According to the same report, the information on the 176 suspicious transactions that were analysed has been shared with the relevant law enforcement agencies, including the Anti-Corruption Commission. We await their speedy action on these reports.”

The CSOs and governance activists have also reminded law enforcement agencies to always bear in mind that their loyalty is to the people of Zambia.

“We would like to encourage the committed law enforcement agencies that work under tough conditions to remember that their loyalty lies with the Zambian people and that they have a responsibility to protect the Constitution of Zambia, the Laws of Zambia and the people of Zambia. We further encourage Zambians to continue exercising their right to be heard, to assemble and seek the common good of our country. The #YellowCard Campaign is for the common good of all Zambians, but especially for the poorest among us who pay the highest price for corruption and bad governance,” stated the CSOs.