USAID supports referendum ‘Yes’ vote

The referendum vote is not about politics but human rights, says US Agency for International Development (USAID) coordinator Aaron Phiri.

Mr. Phiri said that he was pleased about the referendum had raised issues that USAID had been concerned about for some time.

“I’m happy that now there’s a referendum coming. We have already done research ourselves, and these are the things we have been talking about, that we need to improve on our rights,” he said.

Mr. Phiri said that people needed to understand and take ownership of their rights, so that they knew what they were entitled to as citizens.

He also said some countries were not succeeding because their rights are non-existent, and that Zambia needs to excel in that regard.

“You’ve got a right to exist, a right to life, a right to education, a right to shelter. Other people are not excelling because their rights are not there.”

“People should understand the referendum is not about politics. It’s about my rights. My own rights that I’m going to enjoy. Things like shelter, things like education, I’m going to compel the government to say, ‘can you provide this?,” he said

Mr. Phiri also said media institutions should stop reporting on some politicians as they were provoking violence in the country.

“They should even blacklist them. They shouldn’t be reporting on them. You’re not doing any favours by reporting on the negativity. Don’t bring in people who are promoting violence,” he said.

Mr Phiri added that some politicians contributed to gender-based violence, through the language that they use.

He said: “You report too much on politicians.

You give them live coverage, from morning to sunset. These are the people who are influencing GBV.”