KABUSHI PF member of parliament Bowman Lusambo yesterday ambushed UK Minister of Africa Vicky Ford and British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley at Hot FM, where he staged a lone protest against Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti.
Lusambo carried a poster which read “The Zambian Speaker is not impartial; Parliament is not independent. Speaker is killing our democracy. There is no corruption fight but political persecution.”
But Ford and High Commissioner Woolley quickly rushed to their car after leaving the studio, without interacting with him.
However, speaking to Journalists at the sidelines of the official opening of the Standard Chartered Bank Head Office later, High Commissioner Woolley said it was great to see Lusambo expressing his views without harassment.
“I know honorable Lusambo very well, we have had plenty of meetings and opportunities to discuss all of my time here in Zambia. I knew him as Minister for Lusaka Province where he welcomed me into his office on occasions where we have had several discussions and we had done some as an opposition MP. Just last week he came to my office in the British High Commission and we discussed the situation here and what was on his mind and what was on my mind and shared our views in a very constructive way,” High Commissioner Woolley said.
“He appeared this morning outside the Hot FM studios where my minister had just given a half an hour interview on the Breakfast show and it is great to see the honourable MP is able to be out on the streets expressing his views without harassment. Really illustrates the freedom and democracy here in Zambia which has always been a very much part of Zambia’s history, part of its fabric, part of the identity of Zambian people.”
He said he did not see the full poster and that it was unexpected.
“What we saw from honourable Lusambo this morning was testimony to that. I didn’t see the full poster, it was unexpected, we were rushing between one appointment to the next. As you can imagine, it has been a very busy three days where the minister has been able to not just meet with the President which was an excellent meeting yesterday afternoon and a variety of Cabinet ministers, she also met with the opposition leader of parliament at the National Assembly and had the opportunity to visit schools and speak with Zambian school children and learn about their experiences,” High Commissioner Woolley said.
“And I would like to reiterate her comments that she made throughout her visit in paying tribute to Zambia’s democracy and I think what we saw last August in the elections is again a testimony to the majority of Zambia’s democracy, the UK shares the same values as Zambians in terms of rights as peoples, to protect our fundamental freedoms, freedoms of expression, freedom of assembly and that was what honourable Lusambo was demonstrating this morning, the right to voice his opinion, the right to stand, to gather to express his views publicly. So, I applaud him for doing that.”
Meanwhile, High Commissioner Woolley said the UK and Zambia continued to learn from each other.
“Zambia’s democracy is important to its citizens. I think we saw that very strongly including at the elections last year when record numbers, particularly young Zambians, turned out to express their views and to express their will and have that will respected. So, like all democracies, the UK is absolutely no exception, we continue to learn, we continue to build from each other and that was the important part of the minister’s visit where we talk about shared cultures, shared values and we as two nations the UK and Zambia can continue to learn from each other as we go forward and develop and instil those fundamental beliefs within our societies,” said High Commissioner Woolley.