FOUNDATION for Democratic Process (FODEP) president Mwenda Mumbuna says the ruling Patriotic Front has no right to restrict anybody from going to any part of Zambia.
Commenting on Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo’s warning to the opposition that the Copperbelt Province was a no-go area for the UPND, Mumbuna said the ongoing friction between the PF and the opposition would worsen if the ruling party remained intolerant of the latter’s right to assemble and mobilize.
He, therefore, called on President Edgar Lungu to intervene the tension before it escalated out of control.
“We should not return a wrong for a wrong. What happened in Monze was wrong; that doesn’t mean they (PF) should return it for a wrong. What happened is something that can be discussed without threats. We do not agree. It is time for politicians to realize that Zambia does not belong to them. You cannot stop any Zambian from going to any place. There is freedom of movement and association. The President should be able to deal with this issue, which is not good for our democracy. We do not agree with the way the PF has reacted. They do not have any right to stop anybody from anywhere. The only time your freedom is restricted is when you are in prison. The Copperbelt is not anyone’s bedroom, Northern Province is for every Zambian so you cannot say, ‘don’t go there because this is what you did to our party President’,” said Mumbuna in an interview.
“This will worsen. What we need is the leadership of the President; he should rise above party politics and say, ‘this is what we want in this country. Both PF and UPND step back.’ The first Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda did that in 1969, he rose above party politics and said, ‘UNIP and UFP stop fighting.’ That is the level of leadership we need more than saying, ‘we are going to stop this person from going to this place’.”
On Monday, Lusambo said UPND president Hakainde Hichilema had locked himself out of the Copperbelt after his supporters booed President Edgar Lungu in Monze.
“Hakainde Hichilema has locked up himself. He is the president of Monze and Southern Province because in other parts, we will not allow him to mobilize. President Lungu is a flag carrier and you should give him respect. Let them behave like that when we are with councillors, not the President. The Copperbelt is a no go area for the UPND as long as I remain the mobilization coordinator. If they want the politics of caderism, they know me. We are not going to tolerate that nonsense! They are coming for massacre on the Copperbelt! We are not going to allow stupidity. The President is always on duty 24/7 and he has no restrictions to visit any constituency. We are going to protect the President of the Republic of Zambia and we are going to assure the UPND that the line has been drawn,” warned Lusambo.