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MORE stakeholders must speak out against injustices by Government because remaining silent is killing democracy, the African Youth Movement has said. Movement executive director Chanoda Ngwira said he was saddened by the unnecessary waves of raids, searches and arrests of those perceived to be criticising the government.

In an interview, Mr Ngwira said his movement felt that the “unnecessary arrests” of perceived political opponents of the ruling party were potential threats aimed at weakening them. He said the citizens across the country needed to be vigilant and participate actively in public life to defend the democracy that Zambia’s founding fathers and mothers fought for.

Mr Ngwira said people should not be scared to hold national leaders accountable by criticising them for fear of being arrested. “This is a clarion call for us all politicians and citizens to stand up and defend our democracy.

Every citizen, irrespective of their political ideologies and orientation, have a critical role to play in ensuring our democracy is guarded against any potential threats aimed at weakening it,” Mr Ngwira said. As a nation, he said, we are at a crossroads and the time to act against every threat to our democracy is now when we are witnessing waves of detentions and arrests of opposition political leaders and their associates.

Mr Ngwira said citizens have the right to demand for enforcement of ethical public service as a norm across all spheres of governance and continue to exert moral pressure on political parties in their fight against corruption in all its forms, including confronting their own members when caught in any corruption-related scandals.

Mr Ngwira has however said there was need for those criticising Government to be civil in the manner they criticised those in leadership. “Yes, we have freedom of expression but it must not be abused. We need to be civil in our criticism to the power that be. We must be mindful in the way we talk because they are also human beings who can react,”

 Mr Ngwira said. He also advised those in power to develop a thick skin and allow criticism as they offer their service to the public.

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