Vice President Guy Scott must be grilled on critical issues such as President Michael Sata’s health while at the US Africa Business Leaders’ summit in Washington D.C, Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) international counsel Robert Amsterdam has said.
And Mr Amsterdam has charged that the Patriotic Front (PF) government is responsible for the growing political violence, repression and failure of governance that threatens the nation’s stability
Mr Amsterdam said the U.S. administration must curb its blind support for the PF as government was responsible for growing political violence
“It’s a disgrace. People are suffering under this incompetent and brutal PF government, but the United States continues to give its tacit support,” he said.
Mr Amsterdam said the Leaders’ Summit which convened in Washington DC represented a positive opportunity to open up new channels of cooperation between the United States and the African region.
He however said in Zambia’s case, the U.S. administration should withdraw its support.
“The U.S. administration must wake up to the worsening situation in Zambia. During his visit to Washington, Vice President Guy Scott must be grilled on critical issues such as the PF’s failure to deliver the draft constitution, and the widespread harassment of journalists and opposition MPs.” Mr Amsterdam said.
He said delegates to the U.S. Africa Business Leaders’ Summit should ask Dr. Scott why multiple judges had been fired and the independence of the judiciary violated.
“According to the 2014 annual report by non- governmental organization Freedom House, Zambia received a “downward trend arrow” due to the ruling party’s on going repression and harassment of the political opposition, including the increased use of the Public Order Act, hindering its ability to operate in general and to campaign in by-elections,” Mr Amsterdam said.
He said the United States government had a known record of supporting the PF despite its poor record on rights and democracy, dating back to their forceful demands for parallel vote tabulation in the 2011 elections.
“Most recently, the U.S. funded Zambian chapter of the Young African Leaders Initiatives (YALI) a major Obama Administration project was expelled from the Grand Coalition of NGOs, an umbrella group calling for immediate delivery of a new Constitution promised by the PF. This came after YALI sided with the Zambian government, calling for the constitution to be delayed until 2017, a plan that was immediately endorsed by the ruling party.
“The lack of good governance in Zambia has led to severe mismanagement of the economy, rising inflation, a near collapse of the Kwacha and rapidly increasing food prices. The only response from the PF government has been to stir up tribal conflicts,” he said.
Mr Amsterdam said the U.S. administration must support unity and peace in Zambia, instead of endorsing the PF’s efforts to sow divisions and ethnic conflict.
“Many observers feel that Zambia is running on auto-pilot right now, as the president has made only a handful of appearances in recent months and hasn’t directly addressed the nation in a very long time.
“In this vacuum of leadership, it appears that Vice President Scott and Justice Minister Kabimba are once again defaulting to conflict and division as their language of power,” he said Mr Amsterdam said Washington had a responsibility to support the public safety of all Zambians and the stability of the nation. He said Washington must immediately stop enabling the abusive conduct of the PF.