PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya says he posted Patriots for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo’s pictures in which he was bleeding after being attacked by some suspected PF cadres in 2019 to illustrate that the country was coming from a brutal regime.
In an interview, Bwalya said the move was not in any way meant to mock Tembo but to show that the country was coming from a deadly background of violence.
“That incident took place, we all saw it, I was one of the people who stood up for him and defended him. So how can it be that now I am mocking him when in 2019 I defended him? So there is a certain kind of emphasis, we are coming from a certain background that citizens must never forget of the violence and the deadly background where if you or anybody else stood up to stand for what is right they were going to be brutalized. You will be lucky to be alive, like the gentleman who is lucky to be alive because he could have been murdered. So we have moved away from that and the sad part about it was that he was protesting about an issue that all of us were gravely injured by, which was the procurement of fire tenders at an inflated premium,” he said.
“The people who did that are still working free and making noise, mocking the government and mocking the President. The message is that we have not forgotten that each and every [person] will be held accountable. That is what it means to redeem the country, the rule of law, and law and order and restoring [the] integrity of our democracy. People should speak freely without being attacked and that those who commit crimes against this country and its people, will also be accountable. Those who did it in the past, those who are doing it now and those who think they can do it in the future, everyone will be held accountable, that is the simple message.”
He said it was gratifying that the country had moved away from the era of political violence.
“It was a deadly regime where we are coming from, you are not guaranteed your life at any particular moment. If you spoke against the regime, what happened to the gentleman whose pictures you have seen could have happened to all of us. Those of us who spoke about the illegal issuance of NRCs were brutalized, were arrested. So it did not matter what your grievance was or what you stood for, if you spoke against the regime you were in trouble. So we have moved away from that. Everyone should be grateful for that, they should not be grateful for that because we are giving them that, the opportunity to live in a free country no! That is a bare minimum and we are just restoring that,” said Bwalya.