It is extremely sad and barbaric that some people can resort to beatings and harassment as a means of persuading others to agree with their views, former Petauke MMD Member of Parliament Dora Siliya has charged.
Ms Siliya said she is deeply saddened to learn that four journalists and a former Times of Zambia marketing official were on Friday night ambushed by some known people on suspicion that they were writing for the Zambian Watchdog which has been curtly criticizing the Patriotic Front (PF) government.
Ms Siliya said Zambians would not keep quiet and watch their country deteriorate to a point where violence was acceptable, stating that no matter how much brutal and barbaric any regime would aspire to be, citizens would never be cowed into intimidation.
She has called on all institutions of governance such as the Police, Judiciary, Parliament, political parties, the media and the civil society organisations as well as the church to reflect strongly upon any group perpetrating violence against innocent citizens such as journalists.
On Friday night, Thomas Zgambo, Obet Simwanza and Richard Mulonga who are freelance journalists and Chris Kakunta the NAIS journalist as well as Fines Muyumba were waylaid by known people just when they were leaving a social place in the Lusaka Showgrounds to their respective homes.
Ms Siliya said government had the obligation to protect all citizens and that it must rise above anyone else and punish the perpetrators of violence regardless of their political affiliation.
She explained that politics must purely be an activity where ideas rather than violence could be exchanged to develop the country and give citizens free space participate and elect leaders with ideas that would give hope to Zambians.
Ms Siliya stated that it was disheartening and shameful that in the year of the country’s independence jubilee when citizens should be reflecting on how peaceful the country had been in 50 years, some people were still seeing violence as a means of settling differences.
She explained that Zambia was currently faced with critical challenges and that tension had reached frightening levels because of the position of the ceremonial Vice-President Guy Scott who could not act as President in the absence of the Head of State.
She said the tragedy of Dr Scott not being able to act as President was so serious and that the country’s investor confidence had reached its lowest ebb and had severely affected the performance of the economy which she stated had ultimately affected the livelihood of the poor households.
Ms Siliya said Zambians were wondering why President Michael Sata had failed to appoint a Vice-President who would act as President in his absence and urged that this was a constitutional crisis that must be resolved to stabilise governance.
“It is extremely sad and barbaric in today’s Zambia that some people can resort to beatings as a way of persuading those who disagree with them to accept their views. It is even more shameful that in this jubilee year in which we should be reflecting on how peaceful we have been politically as a country some people are still bent on erasing the history of pushing for headlines such as the one on yesterday’s Daily Nation newspaper. Currently Zambia is faced with many challenges and tension has reached its frightening levels because of the position of the ceremonial Vice-President Guy Scott who cannot act as President in the absence of President Sata,” Ms Siliya said.
She said neighbouring countries would be frowning upon Zambia because of the culture of violence adding that the country was receiving a lot of respectable visitors who were reading about violence in a citizenry that had respected democracy for a long time.
She said the dignitaries that visit Zambia were getting shocked that the country they thought was peaceful was actually habouring hooligans who had turned politics into a bloody battle field.
Ms Siliya said many Zambians supported the existence of the Post Newspaper because they believed in democracy and good governance and called on all stakeholders to support the Daily Nation because it had filled in the void in media discourse.