PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu should have used the Africa Freedom Day commemoration to state his position on the trivialisation of corruption in government by some of his ministers, says Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Maurice Nyambe.

And Nyambe has called on government to exercise a gesture of goodwill following the Africa’s Freedom Day celebrations by reinstating Prime Television’s broadcasting licence to restore the freedom of citizens to choose their preferred source of news.

In statement, Monday, Nyambe, who called on African leaders to depart from their rhetoric on challenges of corruption, poor governance, reducing civic space on the continent, stated that it was not enough for President Lungu to only pardon 2,984 inmates as a way of commemorating the Africa Freedom Day without pronouncing himself on corruption and other governance issues.

“We would like to call upon Africa’s leaders to depart from the rhetoric that has characterized their response to the challenges of our times, such as corruption, poor governance, reducing civic space, and many other challenges that have continued to ravage our continent and individual countries. Being a local chapter of a global movement dedicated to fighting corruption and promoting good governance, TI-Z takes particular interest in Zambia’s efforts to fight this scourge. In this vein, we would like to reiterate our call to the Zambian government to step up efforts to fight corruption as we believe that if left unchecked, this vice has the potential to decimate our economic, social, political and environmental well-being in ways that will make it impossible for citizens to enjoy their freedom,” Nyambe stated.

“While TI-Z takes note of and commends President Edgar Lungu’s decision to pardon 2,984 inmates in accordance with Article 97 of the Zambian Constitution, we believe that there is a lot more that the Head of State can do to make the commemoration of this year’s Africa Freedom Day even more meaningful and worthwhile for Zambia. For instance, we believe that the Head of State should pronounce himself on the unfortunate trivialization of corruption that we have seen in the recent past from a senior government official. We also believe that the Head of State, also being the leader of the party in government, should further pronounce himself on the unfortunate incidents of lawlessness that have been exhibited by suspected cadres from the ruling party in disrupting radio programmes featuring opposition leaders.”

Nyambe also called on government, through the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), to restore citizens’ freedom to choose their preferred source of news by reinstating Prime TV’s broadcasting license.

“It is our considered view that these two issues represent significant obstacles in our country’s quest to meaningfully celebrate Africa Freedom Day. In this same light, we wish reiterate our call to the government, through the IBA, to exercise a gesture of goodwill on the day of celebrating Africa’s freedom to immediately reinstate Prime TV’s broadcasting licence in order to restore the freedom that citizens had to choose their own preferred source of news. Lastly, as Zambia commemorates this day, TI-Z wishes to call on our leaders across the political divide to join together in unity of purpose in order to address challenges, such as corruption, the coronavirus pandemic, mounting external debt, and many other challenges that threaten to erode our freedom in different respects. We believe that we will be stronger as a nation, and ultimately as a continent, when we put our efforts together in the spirit of One Zambia, One Nation. Happy Africa Freedom Day,” stated Nyambe.