Malawi situation calls for urgent attention on how we manage elections in Zambia – HH

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Leading opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has observed that the situation in Malawi calls for urgent attention on how Zambia manage elections.

Malawians are up in arms against President Peter Wa Mutharika following a disputed election.

Hichilema or HH as he is commonly referred to stated this in a press statement below made available to Zambian Eye.

The emerging political instability in Malawi calls for reflection and urgent action on how we manage our elections in the SADC Region and Africa as a whole.

It’s high time SADC took a keen and critical interest on how elections are managed by its members instead of always being an endorser, 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.

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.

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 has left our beautiful country heavily divided after the 2016 General elections.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hakainde Hichilema
UPND President

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31