PF destroying democracy

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 10:17:14 +0000

The ruling PF has been accused of moving swiftly to destroy the opposition by attempting to reduce the numbers in parliament, creating an atmosphere of fear and instability in the judiciary and gagging opposing voices by denying them the much promised free access to the public media.

MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba has also charged that the behaviour of President Sata was disturbing.

He said this during a press briefing yesterday in Lusaka.

Dr Mumba said this was so in an attempt to create an imbalance between the three arms of government, so that the executive can reign supreme over the legislature and Judiciary.

He said this was tantamount to a virtual declaration of imperial state governed by an emperor by the executive.

“We have witnessed the attempt to deregister the main opposition party, denial of public assembly, an instigated refusal by the police to obey a court order, and the deportation of a Catholic priest simply for giving a critical sermon during Sunday Service.

“These violations of the constitution and the attempt to assault democracy are too numerous for us to exhaust here today.

“Suffice to point out, that we are living at a time when we are witnesses to the highest number of executive decisions being challenged in the courts of law. This is unacceptable and because we love our country and its democratic system, we will not allow it to happen,” Dr Mumba said.

The opposition leader observed that the frequent accusations of bitterness, Jealousy and sabotage in the course of doing their duties were not only unnecessary but distasteful in a democratic system.

He said as an opposition party it did not need a permit from the PF to discharge its mandate and that permit was already given to them by the people.

The opposition leader said as a part it had a stake in ensuring that a disastrous failure by the PF government does not happen because the situation would affect the whole country.

“This is the reason we have come here today, in order to fulfil our mandate to assist them govern, hold them accountable and ensure that they make an honest attempt at fulfilling the promises they made to the people of Zambia.

“This is our responsibility and this is an opportunity for them. This past month, not only represents one year since the PF and President Michael Sata were elected, but it also represents one year since we, the MMD left office,” he said.

The opposition leader also noted that Mr Sata’s behaviour was decorum of the President was unbecoming and puts the country constantly on the edge in fear of the latest national blunder.

“A case and point is his recent address to the National Assembly in which it was expected that a serious national agenda would be set by the President for the coming year. This was especially more important given the fact that the President has not addressed a single press conference on the state of the nation since he assumed office last year.

Instead, the president reduced this important occasion, firmly set in tradition, into a laughing matter with unpalatable jokes throughout his two hour address.

Dr Mumba also said the people of Zambia were given an impression that the problems of this country were actually very simple and easy to fix and that the PF went ahead and gave false hope to the citizens of this country.

He said promises such as millions of JOBS will be created, more money in your pockets in 90 days, a finalized Constitution in 90 days, the restoration of the Barotseland agreement, within 90 days, chase the Chinese Investors, who were referred to as ‘Infesters’, reduce the Size of Government in order to reduce cost, enact the Freedom of information Bill in 90 days and ensure fair coverage of all opposing views in the    public owned media.

Others were fight Corruption by Re-enactment of the Abuse of Office clause in 90 days and no appointment of cadres within the civil service and no appointments based on tribe or nepotism.

He explained that as a party it would hold the PF accountable for these promises made.

He noted that a year has gone, and clearly there are no 200,000 new formal sector jobs in this economy that minister of commerce had promised.

What we have been told instead, is that they have on their books 20,000 pledged jobs for 2012. In addition, we have been told that their sole plan towards creating jobs is to reintroduction of compulsory Zambia National Service (ZNS) training.

He also said the more money in your pocket was also a failed gimmick as this promise was to double the exempt threshold for PAYE from 1,000,000 kwacha in 2011 to 2,000,000 Kwacha in 2012.

“The net gain of this measure was to give an estimated 250,000 Kwacha relief to 80,000 low paid workers. The bulk of these were civil servants and other formal sector employees in construction and the service sector.

This measure, while commendable, became effective in April 2012, six months after their taking office and was subsequently overridden by adjustments to transport and other allowances in both the teaching and health services. The net effect of this, in fact, has been to reduce take home pay and not to increase it. Similar adjustments to take away this gain have been implemented in the core civil service,” said Mumba.

He said it was quite clear that the PF had lamentably failed on all its promises to the people of Zambia.

He said the failure of the PF government lies in its inability to pass the credibility test.

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