By NATION REPORTER
BOWMAN Lusambo has reported the UPND government to the European Union (EU) over the continued political harassment of opposition leaders, most of whom have been victims of police arrests and detentions and the shrinking democratic space the country is experiencing.
Mr Lusambo in the letter to EU Ambassador to Zambia Jacek Jankowski said most of his colleagues in the opposition, particulars those from the Patriotic Front (PF) had been harassed, arrested, tortured and detained.
Mr Lusambo has accused the UPND government and President Hakainde Hichilema of detaning citizens unlawfully and for long periods in police stations, which were often located far away from their families.
He warned that if left unchecked, President Hichilema had all the ingredients to transform into a full blown authoritarian ruler who would take away all the democratic gains Zambia had recorded since 1991after the country reverted to multiparty democracy.
He said the recent arrest of PF president Chishimba Kambwili for alleged unlawful assembly for simply addressing a handful of youths who visited his home was the latest in a series of abuses that opposition leaders had faced at the hands of the UPND.
“Your excellency the UPND administration has done a remarkable job in portraying to the international community that it is a supporter of democracy. During his address to the European Parliament in June last year, President Hichilema reiterated his administration’s commitment to put peoples interests, reforms, free media, the rule of law and democratic growth on top of his political agenda,” Mr Lusambo said.
Mr Lusambo said to the contrary the President Hichilema’s administration was becoming increasingly intolerant, autocratic and speedily closing up space for political freedoms.
“As friends of the UPND administration, we therefore demand that the EU in Zambia publicly condemns the abuse of political freedoms taking place in Zambia. We also demand that the EU office in Zambia take steps to reprimand President Hichilema’s administration for its intolerance and failure to observe and respect human rights of opposition political leaders,” he said.
Mr Lusambo said that the people of Zambia were expectant that the EU would respond to his demands and help restore the country’s democracy as they had always done since 1975 when the EU delegation first opened its office in Zambia.