PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has imposed a political lockdown on Zambia and has criminalised dissenting opinions, as evidenced by the jailing of NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili, says former secretary to the cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika.
And Dr Sacika has urged President Lungu to learn valuable lessons from late president Frederick Chiluba after the latter toiled in court on corruption and abuse of office charges after leaving office in 2001.
Meanwhile, Dr Sacika says Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja will go down in history as the first IG to face abuse of office charges after leaving office.
In an interview, Dr Sacika noted that despite the judicial merits of Kambwili’s fraud case, the former Roan PF member of parliament’s conviction is a manifestation of President Lungu’s repression of political opponents.
“Regardless of the judicial merits or otherwise, the jailing of Kambwili is seen by people as President Lungu’s continued repression of his political opponents. If you look at our political situation in the country, Lungu has actually imposed a political lockdown on the country. He has criminalised opposition politics and has turned Zambia into a one party dictatorship governed for and in the interest only of himself and the Patriotic Front,” Dr Sacika said.
“Many people are asking: ‘what is the point of having opposition political parties if they cannot be allowed to operate?’ Political parties right now cannot hold public meetings, cannot hold demonstrations, and cannot even feature on private radio stations without the PF or the police interfering. This is unacceptable.”
He warned President Lungu that he would end up like late president Frederick Chiluba who spend most of his retirement time answering to criminal allegations.
“Now, the war that President Lungu has unleashed on the people through the police just to stay in power, is totally unnecessary. It does not matter how long it takes…One day, President Lungu will cease to be President, but Zambia will still be there and he should not forget what happened to Mr Chiluba after he left office,” he cautioned.
Meanwhile, Dr Sacika said that Kanganja had instituted a reign of terror using the police to intimidate Zambians into submission to the PF government.
“Inspector General of Police [Kakoma] Kanganja has instituted what amounts to a reign of terror using the police to intimidate the people of Zambia into submission to the PF government, but his actions are almost tantamount to a coup d’état against our constitutional order. But this is a wrong strategy, which is making the Patriotic Front government more unpopular. You can intimidate people, but you cannot make them love or respect you; you cannot make people vote for you out of fear, this is what Kanganja is trying to achieve,” he observed.
“Now, the biggest challenge for the Patriotic Front in next year’s elections is not the opposition UPND or Hakainde Hichilema, it is their failure to deliver, their failure to manage the affairs of our country in the best interest of all the people. The position of the PF, right now, is not different from the position in which UNIP was in 1991. The people see the PF government as the bad guys and the opposition as the good guys and no amount of police repression, and no amount of dictatorship can change this. What is happening in Zambia, today…No man has done more harm to the Patriotic Front than Inspector General Kanganja, no man has done more harm to the PF than Kanganja has done.”
He charged that Kanganja would be the first former IG to stand trial for abuse of office and abetting crime.
“Kanganja has abetted crime in order to promote the political interests of the Patriotic Front and he may become the first former IG in the history of Zambia to stand trial for abuse of office and abetting crime. At present, Kanganja is protected by the office he holds, but when he is no longer IG, he will be an exposed person and vulnerable to legal sanctions. He should not forget that the crimes he is abetting or committing will follow him! In my career as a public officer at the highest level of government, I learnt one important lesson: namely that the biggest challenge for the people in power is to learn how not to abuse the power they have, this is important; to learn how not to abuse the power they have and that the exercise of power must always be in the best interest of the people and never in the interest of the rulers,” said Dr Sacika.