LEADER of the Opposition in Parliament Brian Mundubile has wondered why civil society organisations and the church are now silent despite the “many constitutional breaches” by UPND when they used to speak out over even minor breaches during PF’s tenure.
And Mundubile has called on the international community to look into the manner in which PF members are being treated.
In an interview, Mundubile said CSOs and church-led organisations should comment on matters from a neutral point of view to avoid being found in a situation where they were now failing to speak out.
“Our concern, when PF was in power for minor breaches, way minor than what we have seen now, the civil societies spoke out, the church spoke out, the international community spoke out. So, we are now questioning why are all these other agencies quiet? Why are they quiet? I want to further warn civil society organisations and other church organisations that when you decide to comment on matters, you must do so from a neutral point of view, when you have taken interest in national interest, do so from a neutral point of view. The reason why they are finding it difficult, they had taken a partisan role in those matters and so they are finding it difficult to come out and the Zambian people are watching,” he said.
“The Zambian people are so disappointed that there are so many constitutional breaches that we are witnessing and seeing every day, the church is quiet, the civil society organisations are quiet, the international community is quiet. They have decided to remain quiet.”
He lamented that what government was doing to PF members in terms of human rights violations could be likened to what Russia was doing to Ukraine.
“So the issue of the rule of law is an issue of grave concern because clearly the President is not committed to govern this country using the rule of law, going by the many breaches. We were very quick to comment on the Russia, Ukraine war and condemn Russia that they are violating human rights. How different is what Russia is doing to Ukraine from what government is doing to its own citizens like honourable Nakacinda? Let us not be hypocritical, we can’t go to Ukraine and Russia when right in our country we have human rights violations that are going on and people have remained quiet,” Mundubile said.
“It doesn’t matter how, whether it is one person, two people, 1,000 people, human rights should be observed at all times. Whenever there is a violation of human rights people must speak out, why are the same organisations, why are we quiet as Zambians? So the hypocritical nature of our criticism should be condemned because I think what we have witnessed in the past few days is very unfortunate. It started with Davies Chama, honourable [Stephen] Kampyongo, Bowman Lusambo, everybody else bondable offences, made sure you handcuff them, embarrass them, ill-treat them, mistreat them, we cannot continue like that.”
Mundubile said there was need for the international community to look into the manner PF members were treated.
“So we are calling upon the international community to begin to look into these matters, they have been very loud on these matters in the past, we want them to continue to be loud on these matters. A wrong is a wrong regardless of who committed it. Even a person who was your darling, if he commits an offence today, it’s an offence, you condemn it as such. That is the only way the integrity of these organisations, the integrity of these institutions will be maintained. If we are going to be selective in condemning human rights breaches, in condemning constitutional breaches then our integrity will be questioned tomorrow,” said Mundubile.