PEOPLE’S Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says it is scary to be in the opposition PF can do anything they want and get away with it.
And Banda says it is a clear case of rigging an election when the PF can mobilise themselves freely, while those in the opposition are stopped by the police every time they intend to do the same.
Commenting on the ongoing harassment of the opposition by the State where politicians were deprived of freedoms to mobilise, while others were almost daily in and out of court, Banda said the PF government intended to gain political mileage by deliberately using intimidation, persecution and intolerance as gimmicks to create scary circumstances for opposition parties to operate in.
“There is a lot of nonsense that’s happening! Actually, today, we saw two bail applications that have been granted where first of all, the UPND MP for Sesheke (Romeo) Kang’ombe, who has been granted a bail of K200,000 cash and there is Mr (Chishimba) Kambwili as well, who has been granted a bail of K300, 000 cash! Now, we have never heard of such bail conditions happening in this country. To be honest, it’s frightening. It’s scary! Because how many of us, if we are in that position, can afford to have that kind of money to be bailed out of police? But at the end of the day, what choice do we have? Should we give up because the guys have heightened their tactics,” Banda said.
“But all these gimmicks and tactics are temporal, they will intimidate us as much as they want, but I still believe that there will be an end to this nonsense. And while it’s frightening, it’s also an opportunity for us in the opposition to be written down in the history books that we fought an intolerant regime and someone has to do it and we will do it. We will not stop no matter how many times they will intimidate us. I know a lot of people are now going to be scared to criticise the government of the day, but we have to make a choice…That choice is that the battle continues! And for us, as PAC, they should wait for us, we are coming, we have been quiet deliberately because we wanted to be prepared so that when the intimidation starts, we know what to do.”
He said the deteriorating situation in Zambia called for the international community to come in and speak loudly against government as their actions were an assault on the country’s democracy.
“And I think it’s getting out of hand just looking at what has happened today, I think it’s really getting out of hand and the PF are getting things out of proportion. And as such, there is need that the international community comes in. The international community need to begin to speak up now and speak up loudly because this is clear intimidation, this is an assault on our democracy and if the international community, like we saw last week, were donating money to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, you know, funding ECZ is one thing, but the system of rigging is a process,” he said.
And Banda argued that next year’s polls were already being rigged because the PF were allowed to mobilise their members freely, while those in the opposition were frequently stopped by the police.
“This issue where the opposition can’t mobilise and yet the PF are mobilising freely without being persecuted, that’s rigging! We are all supposed to freely move around the country without having to fear that the police are going to stop us. I think if the international community is really interested in protecting our democracy, then it’s time that they speak up and add their voices. But I also think, as leaders of the opposition, we need to speak to the conscience of the people. I think we are not doing enough to speak to the conscience of the people,” said Banda.
“So, I think for us as PAC this is what we want to start doing so that people know that this war is not about the opposition political parties, but for the whole country. When they understand that, people will start speaking up against all the wrongs that are happening.”