ALLIANCE for Democracy and Development (ADD) leader Charles Milupi says President Edgar Lungu has succeeded in reducing Zambia into a dictatorship, leading to the current economic woes the country is facing.
And Milupi, who is also opposition alliance chairperson, noted that the police should be ashamed for allowing themselves to be reduced into instruments of the ruling party to disable the operations of the opposition in the country.
In an interview, Milupi said what Zambia’s economy was currently going through was a result of the effects of dictatorship.
“When you now bring dictatorship, it has the impact of reducing the contribution of others and in this particular case, it’s the majority of people that are being [affected] and the result of that is what you see in our economy now; it is what you see in the [depreciation of the] kwacha, it is what you see in the [rising] prices of goods, it’s what you see in lack of employment opportunities, it’s what you see in lack of medicines in hospitals, it’s what you see with the corruption, it’s what you see in the exorbitant prices of projects and so on, it’s what you see in an over borrowed state like Zambia is in, to the fact that we can’t even pay interest. That’s interest we are failing to pay and we are now going to say ‘please, just forgive us for six months, just to pay interest’. It’s what you see in a budget where you can only raise K66 billion just to service your loan and to pay workers, you need K74 billion, that is Bwalya Ng’andu’s budget. These are the signs of a failed state, it’s what you see now when the kwacha is about K20 per dollar because of the establishment of dictatorship that keeps the vast majority of the people from decision making,” Milupi said.
“When I campaigned around the country, we were able to articulate our issues without the fear that there will be cadres from some other political parties to inflict violence on you. Now this is the level of degeneration that has occurred in this country and Mr Lungu really ought to examine himself. What has he done to Zambia and what did Zambia do wrong to him for him to inflict this kind of state on it? And with it, you know when you establish a dictatorship, there are things that go wrong, democracy was established to bring certain benefits and among those is the ability to utilise the synergies or the talents of everybody to advance the country. Now, that is why you see America is greater, so you see Japan is greater, so you see the Western European countries, everybody is contributing in their own way because of that democratic principles.”
He said the freedoms that political parties enjoyed before the PF came into power had now been taken away.
“But then again, PF has shown themselves to be a dictatorial party, they are seeking and maybe, they have already succeeded in establishing a dictatorship in Zambia. Because, we have been in politics for a long time, the freedoms that we used to enjoy when we formed ADD in 2009 under MMD of Rupiah Banda are totally different from the freedoms we have. Now, you can’t campaign even if the Vice-President says nobody is stopping anybody from mobilising, that is really laughing at Zambians because the atmosphere now is such that you just can’t,” Milupi said.
And Milupi said it is sad that the party in power was using state institutions to fight its political battles.
“It’s a very sad development where the state, through the influence of the party in power, whilst fighting their political battles with the opposition, they abuse institutions of the state and in this particular case, the judiciary, to inflict punishment on the members of the opposition, even when clearly, there is no case. This function that I am talking about is charging members of the opposition with offenses, which means they have to go through the court process, they have to go through the police, but more than that, the offences which are non-bailable so that the detention itself counts as punishment. Even when they know quite clearly they have no evidence, they will slap this on an individual and keep them inside and then they lean on the courts and the institutions of state to delay the matter. Whilst they are delaying the matter, those charged with non-bailable offenses are in remand prisons which, in most cases, are in very bad conditions,” he said.
Milupi expressed concern that the police had degenerated into instruments of the PF to disable the operations of the opposition.
“We saw that in the case of [Obvious] Mwaliteta, for a period of a year, he was in prison and then later found out that there was no case. So if we remember exactly what happened in the Mucheleka [case], this was in the midst of a very competitive campaign and to knock them out, they took him out of that campaign and slapped him with a non-bailable offense, which means towards the end, he was no longer part of the campaign, so that caused harm to the campaign of the opposition,” said Milupi. “So, that’s purely political and the police, who are the ones who take these matters to court, ought to be very ashamed of themselves because the police institution is there to protect the state and citizens of the state, that must be understood. They are funded by public funds, everybody pays tax that goes towards funding police and so on.”