ADD leader Charles Milupi says the ruling Patriotic Front needs to raise its decency in political practice. And Maureen Mwanawasa has asked President Edgar Lungu to stamp his authority and ensure that his directives on political violence are followed. Condemning the beating of a 70-year-old female Soweto trader Agness Ndhlovu and her two sons at Soweto market on Saturday by alleged PF cadres, Milupi said yesterday that going by the PF’s past record, he believed the party was not fit to be in government although the choice of Zambians needed to be respected.
“It raises a number of questions on the PF and this country because what we’ll have if we don’t control this (violence) is a civil war and we don’t want this country to go that way. The election is gone and PF have been sworn in as winners, whether we agree with that or not, that is immaterial. The main candidate has not petitioned these results despite his firm belief that the results may have been stolen from him,” said Milupi in reaction to a Lusaka marketeer who was assaulted by alleged PF cadres.
“Is there really a decent person in Zambia? Now how about people in PF, do we have decent people? They have a female Vice-President (Inonge Wina) who understands how single mothers struggle to feed, educate their children through marketeering. Is she really comfortable to have a party to which she is [national] chairperson and there is no order? Mr [President Edgar] Lungu himself and Mrs Lungu, who is all over the place, are they comfortable to look at that woman in the knowledge that she has been so wounded and so injured by people that claim to be in the same party [with them]?” He further said the PF would next year be judged on the same wrongs they were now championing.
“They (PF) need to raise their decency really. If I tell you they are not worthy being in government (next year), I will also tell you that they were not worthy being in government in 2015 because of the violence used in adopting their candidates, lack of message [and] their conduct in the last three years. But are the people judging them in the same manner? No!” said Milupi. “Others are judging them and saying ‘oh, that is our tribal cousin, we shall vote for them, we don’t care’, but for me, they were not worthy in 2015, they were not worthy in 2011; just like they were not worthy [being in government] in 2008, 2006 and 2001. So I can’t change my mind just because they are in government now, but give them enough rope to hang themselves.
These are the same things we shall use [against PF] in the 2016 campaigns.” Ndhlovu sustained swollen face in the attack. Her son was also assaulted for trying to protect his mother from the attackers. “I have been a marketeer for 30 years and my two sons help me. One of them is actually a university student. I arrived as usual in the morning, offloaded my tomatoes from the truck and then Bright Mumba, the Soweto PF chairman, told me to pack up and go saying he was banning me,” explained Ndhlovu. And Maureen, a former first lady and a victim of political violence in the January 20 election campaigns, said President Lungu needed to get on the ground to ensure that his directives on political violence were heard.
She said it was not enough for the President to merely condemn violence ‘once or twice’ but he needed to ensure that those under him were heeding his directives. “The President has spoken about it once or twice but his leaders are not heeding to his instructions. He needs to ensure that his instructions are followed and action is taken,” Maureen said. Maureen, who recalled her attack in Shiwan’gandu, said the government was allowing ‘thugs’ to get away with a lot of lawlessness. “After we were attacked by well known people, our attackers were PF.
In Shiwan’gandu, we tried to give our statement but even at the police station, we were attacked and the statement was disrupted, no follow ups were made by police to come and merely get a statement from me, nothing at all has been done to arrest our attackers,” she said. Maureen lamented that even in the case of Agness Ndhlovu, police seemed to be doing nothing when she [the victim] could identify the people who attacked her. She bemoaned the state of the nation saying the attacks on those with divergent views were taking the country away from democracy.
Maureen pleaded with President Lungu’s supporters to realise that he now ceased to be PF president but was a President for all Zambians. She also called on the government to take control of bus stations, markets and taxi ranks. “Those are public places and the Ministry of Local Government needs to control them. Even those chitenges placed at bus stations and taxi ranks must be taken down because they are intimidating other citizens,” said Maureen. – See more at: http://www.postzambia.com/news.php?id=6004#sthash.vnBytGMr.dpuf
By Chambwa Moonga and Tilyenji Mwanza