JACK Kalala says 2021 will be a brutal year because the PF have already declared themselves winners of the forthcoming general election and are determined to crush all dissenting voices.
In an interview, Kalala, who served as president Levy Mwanawasa’s special assistant for policy implementation and monitoring, feared that the PF will squeeze the opposition and other citizens, who want to exercise their democratic right through the police, who they had equipped with dangerous hardware to clampdown the opposition.
“I fear for what is going to happen next year. You see that the police have been equipped with war equipment! So, next year is going to be a brutal year. We feel that people are going to be brutalised, especially the opposition because the ruling party, Given Lubinda (Justice Minister), the President (Edgar Lungu) himself and others have all already declared themselves as winners of next year’s election. Meanwhile, on the ground, people are saying, ‘they don’t want PF!’ Now, how is PF going to win? Plus, President Lungu said it: ‘whether you vote for me or not, we will continue to be in power!’ How is he going to do that apart from using force, apart from using brutality? So, next year, there is going to be a lot of harassment; there is going to be a lot of brutalisation; people are going to be brutalised for wanting to exercise their democratic right. They will suppress them because PF wants to remain in power for good. So, that is the challenge we have for next year,” Kalala said.
“Instead of waiting for next year, these issues need to be talked about now. Why has the government bought this equipment for the police for next year? Where are they going to use them? We are not at war with any country. They want to intimidate people, to scare people, to frighten people like they did in Chilubi Island, where they will be the only ones to campaign. This we should not accept! We don’t want what happened in Sudan to happen in Zambia; we don’t want what has happened in other countries where they have forced out the President to happen in Zambia. We want to maintain our tradition to change government democratically like it happened in 1991, like it happened in 2011 and we want this to happen in 2021.”
He added that now was the time to start preparing for a free and fair election by ensuring that the PF were tamed.
“The time to start is now; we need fair and free elections next year. From what we are getting on the ground, people have changed, they don’t want PF! The time to start preparing for a peaceful outcome of the elections next year is now. So, pressure should be put on the PF to sit around the table and say, ‘look, this is what we want, we know you have equipped the police, but we don’t want these things to be used.’ The NGOs should continue to do what they are doing, including the Church, to sensitize the public and to talk against these things so that the PF are tamed and they come to the table and ensure that they leave Zambia a better place than they found it. Just like they came in peacefully, they should move out peacefully,” Kalala urged.
He said Zambians would not accept fake results by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in support of the PF.
“What may happen is that when ECZ will start announcing the results; they will start doing what they did in 2016, probably announcing fake results, which will not be good because you see, that will be dangerous as it may lead to violence and should be avoided. People will not accept fake results, fake victories, no! Like they did in Chilubi where they denied the opposition chance to campaign, people will not accept that. PF is up to no good, like what is happening in Mwinilunga; how do you give the resources that are supposed to be for citizens to foreigners and meanwhile you are squandering money where you spend US $5 million to hire a consultant (Lazard Freres) and then you ask somebody with US $2.5 million to come and invest in the gold?” Kalala asked.
“People will not continue to accept this artificial poverty, which has been imposed by the PF. This is why the artists are coming out and voicing out; the youths are talking…these resources belong to us; don’t give them to foreigners! The PF has put in place a lot of schemes to ensure their victory; you can see the way ECZ is behaving; those are part of the schemes, which they are using so that they guarantee the victory for themselves; so that they win a fake victory.”
And Kalala said it was irresponsible for the government to threaten youths not to protest on the many issues affecting them.
“Even on Monday, the 22nd (today), the youths should be allowed to peacefully demonstrate. What the leaders should do is to listen to what they are saying because they have been graduating since 2011 up to now, what jobs have they created for them? So, a good parent should sit down and listen to the cries of his children. When the children are crying that they are hungry, we don’t get a whip and start whipping them! That is being irresponsible as a parent. So, if one is a responsible parent, he should listen to the cry of the children, not what the PF is saying, ‘that they are going to break the bones of anyone who is going to demonstrate’,” said Kalala.