CSOs Urge Govt Leaders to Reflect on Reasons for Being in Power

CSOs Urge Govt Leaders to Reflect on Reasons for Being in Power

CIVIL society organisations have urged the government to reflect on whether they are in office to serve or to amass power and “feed their greed”.

And NGOCC board chairperson Sara Longwe says the government is demonstrating high levels of intolerance to intellectualism and dissent.

In a joint statement on the deportations and corruption in Zambia, Longwe on behalf of Action Aid Zambia, Alliance for Community Action (ACA), Caritas Zambia and the Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), expressed deep concern at revelations that certain donor countries had frozen aid to Zambia as a result of misappropriation of funds intended for the poorest and most vulnerable citizens under the social cash transfer scheme.

Longwe stated that corruption, in whatever form, was deplorable.

“It always has the effect of robbing Zambians of much needed resources that could go towards health, education and sanitation. The misappropriation of funds in this case is even more deplorable as it is quite literally stealing food from the mouths of the weakest and poorest among us where poverty often bears a female face. It is shameful that such acts of depriving the poor by a few privileged can occur in a Christian nation,” she stated.

“We are also concerned that it appears that the full extent of the corruption has yet to be revealed. The combination of mounting debt and corruption is a deadly combination for a lot of Zambians who will be denied food, decent health care, education and sanitation as a result. On behalf of all Zambians, we demand that those responsible be brought to book. Now that the national budget has been presented, we expect fiscal prudence on the part of government. We urge the government to reflect on whether indeed they are in office to serve or whether they are in office only to amass power and feed their greed. If it is the latter, we can only hope that those leaders involved be deservingly repaid for their sins and that the blood of the Zambians that are dying because of this recklessness remains an indelible mark on their hands.”

And Longwe stated that the country was fast becoming a laughing stock internationally because of undemocratic tendencies.

“We the undersigned Civil Society Organisations are deeply concerned by the government’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies as evidenced in the recent deportation of Kenyan lawyer and academician Professor Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba,” he stated.

“As civil society organisations, we find it extremely hard to believe that Prof Lumumba posed a security threat to the country. The Kenyan Professor was to speak on the topic, ‘Africa in the age of [Chinese] influence and global geo dynamics’. The topic that Professor Lumumba was due to address could not by any stretch of imagination raise any security concerns. The issue of China-Africa relations is topical, particularly in Zambia where a worrying amount of debt from China has been accumulated, threatening public assets. By its conduct, the Government is demonstrating high levels of intolerance to intellectualism and dissent.”