It is just as well that Dr. Guy Scott is not the chief Government spokesman; his effort in this regard is dismal.
For the Vice President to suggest that Government record of human rights protection is excellent totally defies logic, just like so many other things that this Government is trying to deny.
The Government can deny it, but people can see. Pictures do not lie and the more strenuous the denials the less credible and believable.
It is one thing to spin facts to create a favourable impression or perception but another to totally misrepresent facts that are self evident as witnessed by the people themselves. These are things they witness in real time, which have not been edited for political correctness.
Modern technology delivers images in real time, and the adage that one picture is worth a thousand words has accorded real time access to facts and events thus enabling individuals make informed opinions on a wide range of issues.
It is even more astounding that the whole Vice President could suggest that Zambia’s biggest problem is early child marriages!
No, Mr. Vice President we have very serious issues, concerning human rights in the country. We have the abuse of the Police to suppress political discourse as the ruling party mobilizes nationwide while the opposition is kept under tight security and observance by the Police who have instructions stopping all manner of opposition organization.
This is not the democracy that Zambians fought for, when they campaigned against the one party state of UNIP. Most important of all the growing use of Police to oppress and suppress citizens. There is no way the Government can claim adherence to democratic ideals.
It is because of this abuse that none other than the major democratic countries of the world have raised their voices against the narrowing spaces as exemplified by the brutalization of the opposition in Zambia. There are documented concerns raised by diplomats from the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) who have observed with concern the narrowing democratic space in Zambia.
Diplomats from none other than the United States of America and United Kingdom have had occasion to observe the narrowing democratic space under the current Government.
How could the Dr. Scott state for example that..”Over the last few months, there is no one in the opposition who has spent more than a night in jail and there is no state of emergency that has been introduced.”
Why should opposition members spend nights in cells?
It is a reality of current dysfunctional politics in Zambia that opposition leaders have been targeted for harassment, arrest and prosecution for all manner of political charges. Opposition leaders are daily harassed by Police who are implementing a non-existent public order act. The very fact that politicians are forced into Police cells and thereafter attend to numerous court sessions to answer to all manner of political charges is sufficient indictment of the Governments human rights record.
It is not just political leaders that have been forced to run the gauntlet. Journalists have faced the full wrath of Police and Drug Enforcement Commission. Dawn raids have been conducted against journalists for the ostensible search of drugs.
One victim of such raids is now before court for stealing a Library book!
Clearly state agencies are being used to terrorize and intimidate journalists. Many are the journalists that have spent nights in Police cells o for political cases. This is not democracy.
Indeed the police have also become adept at meting extra judicial punishment and retribution against journalists and politicians alike by arresting and detaining them overnight or across weekends for the fun of it or indeed It has become customary for police to arrest and detain political offenders on bailable charges
We would have expected Dr. Scott to provide the voice of reason than counsels those exercising state power to demonstrate restraint and ensure that the tenets of democracy are observed.