When you critically analyse how our country is being governed today, you will realise that there is practically no government in place. What we have is the Patriotic Front running the Republic of Zambia. We do have civil servants quite all right, and we do have ministers, but these are not operating under government guidelines; they are remote controlled by the ruling party structures. Instead of being answerable to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, our public office bearers are answerable to the Patriotic Front leadership. The higher you are in the PF hierarchy, the more power you wield to control senior civil servants.

There are many examples that can explain what we are trying to communicate, but the most recent incident of what happened to Luampa UPND member of parliament Makozo Chikote when he attempted to attend a ‘Patriotic Front event’, stands out.

To those of you who did not follow this development, Mr Chikote was invited to attend the commissioning of the Luampa electricity sub-station. He received, not one but two invitations; one from the Rural Electrification Authority, and another from the Vice-President through the District Commissioner’s office. According to the letters of invitation, Mr Chikote was expected to deliver a speech at the event. This was necessary because the UPND member of parliament had been lobbying for this particular development through his debates in Parliament.

Unfortunately, the Rural Electrification Authority and the District Commissioner did not ask for permission from the Patriotic Front to invite Mr Chikote. They did not inform the leaders of our country, the PF, that a UPND ‘outcast’ was going to attend the function. They thought, being a government event, a parliamentary representative was free to attend. Little did they know that in the eyes of the PF, government doesn’t exist – they are in charge!

We had the privilege of talking to Mr Chikote and we can report that he has remained terrified and heartbroken. According to him, trouble started when he paraded himself at the airport to welcome the Guest of Honour, Vice-President Inonge Wina. The cadres spotted the opposition MP and chased him from the receiving queue.

“At that point, I just held my heart,” Mr Chikote said.

Considering that he had been invited by the second-highest office in the land, the opposition MP was determined to attend the event, so that he could use the opportunity to address his people. But this is exactly what the cadres didn’t want – allow an opposition MP to take credit for the developmental project. So when he insisted to stay around, Mr Chikote met his fate.

He narrated that some senior PF officials who were present, were heard giving orders to the cadres to attack him. Mr Chikote added that Western Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu and Energy Minister David Mabumba who were inside the DC’s office with the Vice-President heard the noise, went outside, saw the chaos and walked away leaving their fellow MP in the jaws of the disgruntled.

Meanwhile, this was happening under the nose of the provincial police commissioner and his officers. Instead of assuring Mr Chikote of safety and guaranteeing him protection, the police commandant advised the member of parliament to leave the event before he could be harmed.

Today, Mr Chikote cannot believe that there was no government official powerful enough to out-rule the PF cadres who gave him marching orders; there were no laws to protect him when he was attacked and threatened.

Like we said, there are many examples that one can point at to show that the PF has swallowed government. No wonder, the PF secretariat is not eager to issue a statement of condemnation over what the cadres did in Luampa; they don’t see anything wrong. But had it happened that the UPND youths, who are the majority in Luampa, attempted to chase PF officials from the constituency, more than 100 youths would have been arrested.

This is happening because the PF has taken over all government functions. The security wings have given up because they have realised that they don’t have any protection of the law. They are just as vulnerable as those opposing the party in power. When all this madness is happening, our police officers and solders watch in awe, the breakdown of law and order, hoping they would one day wake up and discover it was just a dream.

Just a few weeks ago, soldiers who form the presidential royal guard at the main entrance to State House were amazed to see Lusaka businessman Valden Findlay in the company of PF cadres posing for pictures at the no standing zone; a restricted area where ordinary members of the public are certainly not allowed to take photographs.

There is no doubt that members of the PF cannot differentiate between the State and the party. That is why they wear police uniforms, military combats and drive government cars. They grab land from rightful owners and resale it. They control bus stations, markets and beat up anybody who dares question their criminal conduct. They are the government; they are first class citizens, while the rest of us are at their mercy.

But this primitive behaviour has its source. It stems from the great leader of this great country. Just like his supporters, our Head of State spells “government” with two letters “PF”. No wonder he desires to contest the Republican presidency for as many times as the PF allows him.