6th May 2017
THE Zambian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday shunned an invitation by the Department of State and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where a representative of the Good Governance Initiative had gone to make a presentation of various issues affecting democracy in Zambia.
Good Governance Initiative publicity secretary Noel Musokotwane, in a statement, stated that the embassy had missed an opportunity to defend the government of Zambia during the meeting held at the Department of State headquarters and Dirksen Senate Building.
The Zambian Embassy in Washington DC shunned an invitation by the Department of State and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where a representative of the Good Governance Initiative (GGI) had gone to make a presentation on various issues affecting democracy in Zambia,
“The embassy was invited following a request by the GGI to visit lawmakers in Washington DC to, among other things, present a petition to free Hakainde Hichilema, a political prisoner. A presentation on election violence, police brutality, violations of human rights, clamping down of the private press, early warning signs of ethnic cleansing exercise that has been extended to those supporting the targeted ethnic groups, arresting and detention of opposition members and leaders, intimidation and killing of opposing political players by the Patriotic Front (PF) government since September 2011 to May 1, 2017 was made.”
He stated that in addition, a letter detailing the issues covered, including a pictorial and video evidence of all the heinous activities together with a printout of the Free HH petition, were provided to both the Department of State and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Musokotwane stated that also presented was the recent pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Church bishops of Zambia.
When asked by the two institutions about what GGI expectation was, GGI retaliated their demand for immediate reconsideration of the USA policy towards supporting the government of the Republic of Zambia under PF self-imposed President, Edgar Lungu through halting all the aid until HH, his five aides and over 200 UPND members in police custody around the country are released,
“The Zambian government needs to stop persecuting, jailing and killing its political opponents, and allow media to operate freely. The GGI is also demanding that the 2016 presidential elections petition be heard, and that police and the judiciary should be allowed to operate freely, without fear or favour. The government needs to reduce unnecessary spending; and ensure that all corrupt leaders are brought to book.”
The SFRC, according to Musokotwane, assured GGI that it would report the issues to other law makers who would deliberate the matter since it would involve examining the USA policy on Zambia.
He stated that Department of State also said it would consider the matter and follow the appropriate steps of addressing it within the executive branch of the USA government.
“GGI remains committed to pursue this matter across various capitals of the world and is now in the process of identifying Zambians, including those in the diaspora involved in assisting the PF in committing these heinous crimes against other citizens,” stated Musokotwane.
by Lulumbi Nakazwe