Veteran politician Simon Zukas says senior citizens like himself are concerned about uncontrolled corruption in Zambia and gerrymandering of the Constitution.
And Zukas says some concerned citizens are planning to organize a public discussion forum that will seek to find solutions to the collapsing economy and the rise in corruption.
Speaking at a press briefing organized by senior citizens, Friday, Zukas lamented that their earlier briefing had been canceled on grounds that they needed a permit.
“Had I been able to address you on July the 25th as planned I could have been backed by other citizens who are concerned as I am about the state of our country. Some of them are representing organized bodies of opinion others speaking as individuals, others had political and national roles in the past. All have no current political affiliation. We have come together informally as citizens that are deeply concerned about the negative, social political situation that our country is undergoing and the backward constitution direction we being driven into, Above all else our concern in the collapse of the economy. We would have addressed this on the 25th but we were denied the use of a room in which we had booked and paid for and it was denied to us on the grounds that we had no police permit now in my 71 years of activity, I have never needed a police permit to speak to the people even in the colonial days, before our federation,” Zukas said.
“First of all is the collapsing economy, now we were doing very well at independence. We been through a tough time with UDI and one party state system and even the nationalization of many industries and the mines but we had recovered. And then came a very ambitious infrastructure program and that itself would have been in order but it was price inflated, it involved widespread corruption and heavy borrowing. It all resulted in an external and domestic date of some 75% of our nation GDP. So that is our main concern but the is also the question of poor governance and that includes intimidation and shrinkage of democratic rights, abuse of the public order act and also in dealing with cadre violence. They are also concerned about the insufficient social service delivery in education and health. Now more recently we become concerned about gerrymandering our Constitution. And for all of us a major concern is uncontrolled corruption. I was going to refer to the latest events which concerns the 48 housing flats. I want refer to that except to give credit to the President for not allowing that event to be finished but to continue searching. Now I don’t see what the difficult is you know that during UDI we had spies operating in the country even as only 1967 three years after independence we managed to locate some of these spies and have them deported. Now we have got institutions that can do research and I have got confidence that having given instructions, Minister of Home Affairs we will get some results and find out how this manner was delivered from heaven. Now it concerns us all very well that we have to think of a way forward,” Zukas said.
And Zukas asked citizens to lose all fear and speak courageously about issues affecting them.
“So this is what we are supposed to establish. A forum that will meet regularly giving an opportunity to free discussion of our economy, corruption elimination, service delivery, nation building all to help to create a democratic corruption free Zambia that we all want. Now our project can be seen as the revival of the national movement to real democracy. And I thought we might consider calling it CCDIF, Concerned Citizens Discussion Forum. We must abandon our fear. We have a culture of fear that has been created by cadres and most of them are supporting the ruling party and are not being controlled by the police even the police are afraid of them. So I think that our main task is to have courage to face this fear,” said Zukas.
Among the notable people present where civil rights activist Brebner Changala, Lusaka lawyer Ernest Mwansa, former FDD member Newton Ng’uni and Laura Miti.