While Patriotic Front Secretary General Wynter Kabimba is traversing the country mobilizing the party with full coverage of public media, the Police have instructions to stop Movement for Multi Party Democracy Dr. Nevers Mumba from addressing any meetings.
The Police even have the temerity of escorting him out of Vubwi because they have instructions to do so.
What kind of leadership is this?
There is no place for primordial politics of violence, intimidation and abuse of authority in Zambia.
Zambians struggled for and won for themselves the right of self rule from colonialism and in 1991 again fought for and secured the right to multiparty democracy which full embraced the concept of political diversity.
They overwhelmingly rejected the one party state system which is now being introduced surreptitiously through police harassment of the opposition.
It is an accepted principle that democracy is about numbers. These numbers can only be gained by meeting with the people and convincing them to the principles and ideal that a particular stands for. Therefore using the police to handicap and limit opposition parties from seeking public support is an abrogation of the principle of liberal democracy.
Surely the Minister of Justice Mr. Wynter Kabimba must know that the Police are doing the wrong thing by preventing opposition political leaders from traversing the country to mobilize and organize their parties.
The President for the Movement for Multi Party Democracy Dr. Nevers Mumba has been running a gauntlet with Police dispersing whatever meeting he has been trying to convene in the Eastern Province.
From all indications he barely escaped arrest in Ndola Rural where Police came in hot pursuit after learning of his presence in the area.
In contrast Mr. Kabimba who is the Patriotic Front Secretary General has free rein to traverse the country and address political meeting which are dutifully covered and reported by the public media.
This is patently unjust, unfair and illegal.
The greatest tragedy in Zambia today is that the Police will continue to hound and harass the opposition leaders, denying them their inalienable rights and yet no authority, not even the human rights commission will challenge the Police on their abuse of state power.
From the Magna Carta to modern democratic practice the guiding principle of democracy takes from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our own constitution bestows on every citizen the right to association, movement, assembly and conscience. It means that Government has no place in dictating or indeed directing the manner in which a citizen will associate.
The whole 1991 campaign for the re-introduction of multi party democracy was designed to reinforce democracy by recognizing that diversity was an essential element of democracy.
Sadly what is happening now is a throwback to the one party state when being in opposition was equivalent to being a state enemy. All citizens were expected to embrace the philosophy and practice espoused by UNIP.
The Police have re-introduced the concept of permits for meetings and illegal meeting which were clearly outlawed by the Supreme Court.
A level playing field is an absolute requirement for democracy to work.