Opinion

CDDR Requests Suspension of Zambia From Commonwealth

CDDR01A major gathering of leaders of both civil society and major opposition parties held a press conference today to present a complaint before the Commonwealth in Johannesburg.

The 39-page document which they unveiled alleges that President Michael Sata and the ruling Patriotic Front party have violated the principles of the Harare Declaration, and calls for the provisional suspension of Zambia from the Commonwealth pending the outcome of an independent investigation by an appointed envoy.

The document was originally filed with the Commonwealth on Jan. 25 2013, raising suspicions regarding the timing of the controversial letter from the Anti-Corruption Commission one week later to former President Rupiah Banda, who was among the participants in the press conference.

According to a CDDR press release, the Commonwealth report presents evidence showing “serious and persistent” violations of the principles of the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration by the Patriotic Front government of President Michael Sata.

“We may be diverse in our interests, agenda, and political positions, however we are here today united in the belief that Zambia must respect basic rights and freedoms according to the law,” said Robert Amsterdam, an international lawyer who assisted the CDDR in the preparation of the Commonwealth filing. “It is our position that the current government has repeatedly broken the law and violated the rights of both civil society and opposition political parties. We are asking to the Commonwealth to fulfill their commitment to expanding the role of the CMAG as stated in October 2011, and appoint an envoy to conduct an independent investigation into these violations.”

The participants endorsing the Commonwealth petition gathered in Johannesburg include Dr. Nevers Mumba, President of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), Hakainde Hichilema, President of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Edwin Sakala, President of the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM), Sakwiba Sikota, and President of the United Liberal Party (ULP).

The document presented to the Commonwealth presents detailed information on the unlawful nature of detentions of leaders like Dr. Mumba, who was arrested and jailed three times in just two months. It also highlights the police brutality and use of violence against Hichilema and other UPND members. Citing statements made by President Sata ordering the army to fire upon Zambian citizens in the breakaway region of Barotseland, the report raises urgent concerns over incitement of ethnic violence by the current Zambian government.

“This is a government that has behaved in a criminal fashion, and average Zambian citizens are suffering greatly from their destructive and selfish policies,” said Dr. Mumba.

“If you objectively look at the pattern of abuses committed by this government, not just against opposition parties but also civil societies and business competitors of their allies, it is difficult not to conclude that we are on the road back towards the one-party state,” said Hichilema.

The opposition and civil society representatives have agreed to explore legal coordination to ensure that the Zambian government’s attack on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are brought to the attention of the international community before further damage is caused. The parties gathered here see the accelerated pace of repression in Zambia as tied to the brutal fight for succession going on within the ruling Patriotic front Government.

Representing a broad array of opposition parties, political figures, and private citizens, Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) is a legal defence alliance formed in response to increasing harassment and interference by the authorities and related parties. A full copy of the Commonwealth document can be downloaded at http://cddr-zambia.org.

23 Comments

  1. Percy

    Rubbish.. These so called leader have surely lost their sense of shame. Are those the people who will vote for you that you are busy running to? Indeed our opposition has totally lost direction. And that imbecile called Amsterdam, how the hell do you run to such a useless individual for help? Who is he to Zambia? Sakwiba I’m very disappointed in you. Ofcourse I expect headless chickens like Mumba and Hichilema to do such a useless thing, but you Sikota of all people, thats very sad. Watch and learn from the young man Chipimo and see him walk straight to state house while you are busy entangled in your own confusion. Disgusting!!

    • TISA

      Percy, but we can’t just all sit back like Chipimo and wait for another trip to Brazil while the country goes to the dogs.

    • Professor

      Chipimo is just a PF in sheep’s clothing. Go CDDR! Forward HH! Up Mumba! These guys are finally shedding light on the truth in Zambia – and we should not be afraid!

    • Mubanga

      This is good and should be appreciated. Otherwise if this PF government is left to continue on their path, there will be no longer democracy in Zambia. Thumbs up to the opposition and civil society. Abash intimidation and NAREP’s docility!

      • Forbes

        Please NAREP and Chipimo out of this we preach issue based politics. HH and Mumba have both been preaching punch and Judy politics.

        Beside Mumba abused office in Canada while HH is constantly issuing statements are are breach of national security.

    • Lasi

      There are so many ways of killing a rat do not sit and wait for state house where you know too well that things will not work out. I do not blame you my brother you could be right simply because you are not a patriotic Zambian and you do not understand Zambian politics. Our so called president now did worse things than what these guys are doing while he was in opposition now that he is in the driving seat what his friends are doing is bad God forbid. Let us help him to reason check your records well other wise shame.

  2. I love Zambia

    Rubbish indeed, Sakwiba & your team are a disgrace to humanity Ba fi kala!! Shame on you bakoswe!!

    • Namu

      I love Zambia too, but that’s why we must protect it from the thugs in state house. They are breaking the law! The facts are plain for you to see!

  3. I love Zambia

    Tisa,but we can solve our problems right here in Zambia. Why this slavery mentality by these fools? They want a white corrupt man like Amsterdam mafimafi to solve our problems!! What picture are they trying to send to the world? Ok chankalipa,chanibaba!!

    • Peter

      I don’t think Amsterdam being white (or black, brown, or yellow) has anything to do with what the PF is doing to the opposition. It is not a crime to disagree with the government – that is our god-given freedom. And these freedoms should be protected. Who cares who participates in the effort to support our rights??

    • Chanda Chuulu

      Iwe makaka ulimbuli sana in your thinking. You can see the country degenerate into chaos and all you do is go for someone trying to help save the situation. Change your attitude before its too late nkumba iwe.

  4. Nyalubinge Ngwende

    No matter how you Insult–I love Zambia–this country is no longer an island. Your conscious, I am very sure, tells you that and it is the reason you feel pained that your tyrant government is being exposed to the international community.

    You do not need to worry if the government is not involved in the issues raised here, but if not the diplomatic face of PF government is in tatters and the condemnation has gone viral.

    • nenzi nenzi

      You are the most matured commentator here. God bless your wisdom.
      its also true that the guilty are always afraid.

      Ways should be found to stop the rote.

  5. sansamukeni

    This can not go anywhere and everyone involved knows it!!! Now I understand, RB is asking for his troubles, immunity wil be removed and Amsterdam will finish his money!!!!

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  7. I love Zambia

    How many countries in Africa are having greater internal problems? When did here them goin to onother sland to sell a countr they call their own? Sata anavutika maningi but never did he sold his own country like!!! Mwanya bafi tole you will never rule Zambia!

    • Chanda Chuulu

      Chi I love Zambia change your name to something like I Hate Zambia. What is wrong with the opposition meeting in South Africa? Do you even know your history well? How did some of these countries gain independence? uletontokanya iwe chimbwe, don’t just make noise here without considering what genuine case these guys have.

    • Professor

      Here is a very, very simple question to you, I Love Zambia. Is the PF breaking the law when they arrest Nevers three times in one month? Are they violating our democracy when MPs are bribed to abandon their parties and force unnecessary by-elections? Have they betrayed their constitutional duties when the president’s family and friends (Mahtani, Nchito, M’membe) steal everything they can grab?

      Until you have good answers to these questions, your complaints are insincere, and frankly, morally repugnant.

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  12. Mbeka

    Action is vital then to prevent the future but people are still blank mostly about this.

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