Malawian situation calls for reflection on how we manage elections in Zambia- HH
By staff Reporter
OPPOSTION UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says the emerging political instability in Malawi calls for reflection and urgent action on how elections in the SADC Region and Africa as a whole is being managed.
In a statement to newsdayZambia.com this morning Hichilema said it as high time SADC took a keen and critical interest on how elections were managed by its members instead of always being endorsers, perpetrator of illegalities and bystander of electoral malpractices by its member states, against the will of the people.
“ SADC must emulate the uncompromising stance taken by West Africa’s ECOWAS who do not tolerate or entertain the compromising of democracy in member states. They jealously protect the will of the people if the seating government is found wanting,” he said
“ The identical cultural and historical ties between Malawi and Zambia since their Independence from British colonial rule has precipitated a symbiotic relationship whose experiences tend to be replicated in both Countries. What happens in Zambia will usually influence events in Malawi and vice versa. This is an indisputable fact and evidence abounds,” said Hichilema.
“ To this end, we in Zambia call on all political players and stakeholders to hold a genuine conversation with each other, under a neutral and credible arbitrator, which in this case is the three Church Mother Bodies. We must without fear, proactively and critically address a number of challenges that has left our beautiful country heavily divided after the 2016 General elections,” said Hichilema.
“ The so-called NDF was both a sham and window dressing exercise by the PF which fell short in addressing pertinent issues that affect the Zambian electoral process. It was imposed by the PF who acted as the Judge, Jury and the Executioner for their own selfish reasons. We will not accept their resolutions that were deliberately designed to pillage the will of the people using the backdoor. We have instructed our MPs and call upon other progressive lawmakers to ensure the NDF processes are thrown out as soon they enter parliament,” said Hichilema
“ In the 2016 election, we had to refrain our supporters from taking to the streets like what is currently happening in Malawi, because Zambia is bigger than any one individual. We have lost a lot of time in addressing critical issues around the management of our electoral process. However, we believe with genuineness, there is enough time to recover and implement the necessary changes. Local and international bodies should equally be proactive and not wait until the situation gets out of hand to deal with,” said Hichilema.
“ We can no longer continue to restrain our supporters should we face similar difficulties in the management of our election. This can be avoided by ensuring that we simply adhere to what past constitutional commissions have demanded to be included in the Constitution rather than sneak in clauses that tend to perpetuate dictatorship and criminality. We believe that an election should be a happy moment where citizens exercise their right to choose their leaders under a peaceful and conducive environment,” he said
Therefore, an election is not a one day event, but a continuous process that starts from political parties being able to freely mobilise citizens and share their messages and manifestos without any hindrance. Already however, our current political environment is heavily tilted in favour of the ruling party whereas some of us in the opposition are restricted to a point where we are basically under house arrest as we cannot freely move to fraternise with our fellow citizens. Such an intolerable situation cannot remain forever because citizens will one-day find the means to liberate themselves,” said Hichilema
“ Please let’s genuinely sit at the table in the spirit of reciprocity as opposed to what happened at the National Dialogue Forum for PF. As a bare minimum, we need a truly Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to deliver free, fair and credible elections in Zambia”.