Democracy deteriorating under UPND – Mpombo
By NATION REPORTER
DEMOCRACY in Zambia is in a severe setback at the moment and has been besieged by repressive tendencies the UPND government is using to govern, former Defence Minister George Mpombo has observed.
Dr. Mombo said there has been a wave of arrests of political opponents by the UPND administration that had planted fear into a lot of people’s minds that they could not voice out their views, actions which were inhibiting the growth of democracy in Zambia.
Mr. Mpombo said the Public Order Act, a colonial relic was distructive to the growth of democracy because every political party was required to get a police permit before organising meetings and meeting people while the ruling party was doing so freely.
“Our democracy is in a severe setback at the moment because there are so many constraints that inhibit the development of fully fledged development of democracy. There has been a wave of arrests of political opponents that has planted fear into a lot of people’s minds that they cannot voice out so that is inhibiting democracy,” Mr. Mpombo said.
“And also there is the so called public older act which is a colonial relic which is very distructive to the growth of democracy because every political part is required to get a police permit before organising meetings and meeting people while the ruling party are doing that freely every day. Even their cadres are organising people freely but if an opposition member does the same he is locked up,” he said.
“Generally even the question of hate speech, even though that is not the proper definition of hate speech but also it is an impingement on the development of democracy.”
“So we are really at a setback in the sense that our democracy is besieged so we need freedom of expression,” the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader said.
Mr. Mpombo urged Government to allow free crossbreeding of ideas to grow democracy in Zambia.
“People must be able to expound their views without police action. The opposition must be able to express themselves without fear of being locked up. That’s the only way you can grow democracy. Democracy as it is in the UK, USA and things like that,” he said.
Mpombo said freedom of expression is the mother of democracy and it was up to the government to move in in and demonstrate its commitment to a free society, a free and democratic society.
“Freedom of expression and freedom of movement, these are what form cogent democratic values so we are lacking that and it is up to the government to move in and demonstrate its commitment to a free society, a free and democratic society,” Mpombo said.