ECONOMIC Front leader Wynter Kabimba says there is need to do away with foreign financing for political parties, arguing that it endangers national security.
And Kabimba says the debate of amending the Public Order Act is unnecessary because there is nothing wrong with the law but the problem is in the attitude of people.
Speaking when he featured on Diamond TV, Tuesday, Kabimba said it was high time that the country crafted a law which required political parties to account for their sources of financing.
“Political party financing which is not circumscribed by law is a danger to every society and in particular our society. The adage that he who pays the piper plays the tune, applies here. You cannot finance a candidate in the United States as a Zambian here, even if he is your best friend or brother. This is because it is an issue of national security. You can have a government at one time or another in this country that is financed by drug dealers, the mafia or Jihadists. There is a danger in that. It is high time that we legislated because that is an area that requires legislation to make sure that political parties account for their source of financing,” he said.
“That is an area of national security in our view as Economic Front. It is wrong that the Economic Front must be financed by foreign entities. What it means is that it endangers the sovereignty of this country. Before we even get to talk about political party financing from the domestic budget, we should do away first with foreign financing of political parties. Or what one may refer to as sources of financing of political parties by unknown entities and individuals that would be a danger to the country.”
Kabimba said Zambia could not continue being an independent nation if its democratic process was always funded by outsiders.
“We are extremely obliged to the assistance that Zambia has received over the years since 1991. What really breaks my heart as a Zambian is that we cannot continue to say that we are a sovereign and independent nation that subscribes to democracy if that process is going to continuously be financed by outsiders. I think it is high time we reached a point where we don’t only become independent economically, but we must become independent from all spheres,” he said.
“Secondly, there is this indictment that wrong and undemocratic elections only happen in third world countries. I would like to see observer missions go to America to go and observe elections. Democracy is a process. We appreciate those recommendations but I think they must come with the spirit that this system is on the road to improvement. They have to recognise that we are making the effort to see to it that our system is better at each and every stage of the election. So we must progressively improve on our system.”
And Kabimba said the debate about amending the Public Order Act was unnecessary.
“In one of the provisions of the Public Order Act, it says that a group of people, not only political parties that want to assemble, shall notify the police within a period of seven days. This is in order to offer the police an opportunity to guarantee them security. That provision has been abused by ruling parties in power and it has been abused by the police themselves. So you continuously get to hear this language that the police must give you a permit. Nowhere in the current Public Order Act do you need to get permission from the police. This drumbeat of amending the Public Order Act would not be such a contested issue,” he said.
“There is a difference between the law and attitude. We always think that we can legislate against attitudes, you cannot. You legislate founded on the social conditions of a particular society at that given time. We spend so much time in this country thinking that what is wrong with the law is the law, no. What is wrong with the law is the attitude of people. When you speak to the police, what does he tell you? He will look into the ceiling board and say, ‘sorry there is nothing that I can do, the instructions has come from above’. Above him includes the provincial commanding officer, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Inspector General of Police and even the President.”
Kabimba said amending the Public Order Act would be in vain if the country had a dictator as a President.
“Police are not trained to think but are trained to take orders. You can amend the Public Order Act a hundred times but if you are going to have a President who is a dictator, a police service that has not been trained in respecting civil liberties and still entrenched in taking instructions from above, it will not take you anywhere. I do not think so, to be honest with you. I think that this debate is unnecessary,” Kabimba said.
Meanwhile, Kabimba said the Economic Front would launch its rebranding process this April.