A CONSORTIUM of civil society organisations says it’s unacceptable that power holders can demand apologies from Zambians who are exercising their right to express themselves on the state of governance.
And the CSOs have agreed that Zambians are treated as second class citizens in their own country by the ruling elites and some foreigners working in Zambia.
Meanwhile, the Consortium has condemned Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo for threatening those who seek to stand up for Zambia.
In a joint statement, Saturday, Chapter One Foundation; ActionAid Zambia; Alliance for Community Action; Caritas Zambia, CiSCA; the Centre for Trade Policy and Development and Zambia Council for Social Development stated that they stood in solidarity with all Zambians who were raising their voices on matters of public concern.
“The undersigned civil society organisations stand in solidarity with all Zambians who are raising their voices on matters of public concern. We stand in defence of Zambians demanding their full rights and freedoms, as provided by the Zambian constitution – including their inherent right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. We echo the cry that Zambians are not accessing the full benefit of the country’s natural resources with citizens, especially young people, forced to endure poverty that could and should be alleviated with a prudent management of the country’s wealth,” they stated.
The CSOs agreed that Zambians were treated as second class citizens in their own country both by the ruling elites and some foreigners working in the country.
“We agree with sentiments that foreign investments into the extractive sector largely benefit political elites, leaving ordinary Zambians without a living wage or decent working conditions. We agree that Zambians are treated as second class citizens in their own country both by the ruling elites and by some foreigners working in Zambia,” they stated.
The Consortium added that it was unacceptable for Ministers and power holders to demand apologies from Zambians who were exercising their right to express themselves on the state of governance.
“We further find it unacceptable that Ministers and power holders would demand apologies from Zambians who have exercised their right to express themselves on this state of governance and public resource management, in their own country. The people of Zambia must be allowed to constitutionally express their discontent against acts of oppression and against a government that chooses to shield the perpetrators of discrimination and human indignity against our people,” they stated.
The CSOs further condemned Lusambo for threatening those who seek to stand up for the country, as well as, President Edgar Lungu’s silence.
“In particular, we condemn statements by Lusaka Province Minister, Mr. Bowman Lusambo, who has threatened those who seek to stand up for our country. We condemn the silence of the Republican President, who watches whilst the dignity of our citizens is trampled upon without redress. We are however encouraged that out of the attempt by powerholders to intimidate citizens, has emerged signs of hope for our future as our youth find their voices and refuse to be silenced and intimidated for raising concerns about the governance of this country. We applaud them and urge them to continue using their voices and their power constitutionally in the interest of Zambia!” stated that Consortium.