ALLIANCE for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti says Zambians need to ensure that the UPND government does not follow the path that was taken by the PF of suppressing citizens’ rights.

Speaking during the Election Analysis discussion organised by News Diggers! Prime TV and Chapter One Foundation, Thursday, Miti said citizens needed to ensure that their rights were assured.

She called for the amendment or repealing of the Public Order Act, further arguing that the Cyber Security Law was only passed to gag citizens.

“It is very clear that what happened in the last seven years was oppression. I think the worst thing in the PF government is that individuals paid the price. I think for the first time in my adult life you had government going for individuals, not even Kaunda went for individuals. You had a clerk in a job scared that government would come after them. That is the worst kind of dictatorship! That is all in the past, what we need to do now is to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Because if we keep talking about what happened only in PF and celebrate the fact that it is now over, we forget that we have another set of politicians,” Miti said.

“I always say politicians were born from the same mother, if you give them a chance, they all act the same. So, politicians give only as much as is demanded of citizens. So, citizens need to ensure that the UPND government does not go [down] the same path of oppression and regression of citizens’ rights that PF did. So right now our focus should be that our rights are assured, the Public Order Act is repealed or at least amended. Cyber Security law for goodness sake, that is a law from hell! It was only passed to gag citizens.”

Miti said citizens should now concentrate on the UPND administration and forget about the PF.

“So now we have a new government that suffered all these things, we need to start speaking about what the UPND did. We did well with the PF, bye bye PF. Let us leave the PF, let us leave them to stay where they are. Now our focus should be what happens with UPND. Because if we keep looking backward for much longer, we will wake up and find UPND has also learnt a few bad habits,” she said.

Meanwhile, Miti said the UPND government should allow the different institutions in the country to operate freely.

“I think we have different institutions and circles who should do well within their areas. So let the church do well dealing with people’s spiritual issues, speaking up against injustice. Let civil society have the space to ask questions. Those that carry support work whether it is in agriculture, helping people, let them do their work. Let the media carry out their role as the fourth estate. All that coming together is what will produce a vibrant and democratic country,” said Miti.

“One of the problems we have had previously is this government of the day issue. It is like everybody must support, what does support the government of the day mean really? Essentially what I think is that this government must allow the Judiciary to be the Judiciary, Parliament to be Parliament, the church to be the church, civil society to be civil society. That is why there are all these different parts. I really hope that will be the main difference between the UPND government and the PF administration, that it will appreciate the fact that we gave them power [but that] does not mean that they own the spirit and the soul of every Zambian.”