New American ally Zambia sliding into dictatorship

 

Published: April 11, 20232:06 pmUpdated: April 13, 20233:48 pmAuthorcajnews

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE continent has denounced the United States’ (US’) recent hosting of the so-called Summit for Democracy on African soil.

Africans argue that Washington does not have any moral ground to do so.

Citizens in the continent viewed the summit as an insult to various African countries, whose leaders, presidents and citizens were either killed, toppled or forced to toe the regime change agenda by the US and its Western allies, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The reaction follows US Vice President Kamala Harris’ tweet and her recent visit to Africa.

She tweeted: “Democracy and good governance around the world is a priority for the United States. I thanked President (Hakainde) Hichilema for co-hosting the Summit for Democracy and embarking on an ambitious democratic reform agenda in Zambia."

Zambian president, Hichilema, co-hosted the summit, whose African edition was held in the capital, Lusaka.

Some Africans fumed at Zambia’s new leadership for betraying the ideals of independence and Pan Africanism of the founding fathers of the country’s self-rule.

Zambia’s opposition Socialist Party President, Fred Mmembe, said the US was the least qualified nation to travel the 14 108 km only to try to lecture Africans about democracy and human rights.

“A country (US) that has toppled so many governments in Africa, that has led so many coups in Africa and other parts of the world. A country that has killed so many of our leaders in Africa and parts of the world. The killers of Patrice Lumumba (founding president of Democratic Republic of Congo), those who toppled Kwame Nkurumah (founding president Ghana), those who killed Gamal Nasser (Egypt)," Mmembe said.

He added: “Those who killed Muammar Gaddafi, today are coming to teach us about democracy. A country that has been built on brutal force, on enslavement of other human beings, on the humiliation of the Africans, the exploitation of Africans, the plunder of Africa, are coming to teach us about democracy? If you have no respect for the dignity of others, if you have no respect for the sovereignty of other countries, you cannot claim to be a champion of democracy."

Mofolasayo Adeniyi echoed the same sentiments.

“The US has no moral rights to teach about democracy," while one Miguel contended: “A country that jails its political opposition cannot lecture about democracy."

All Things observed: “He (Mwembe) is not wrong (to remind the US about its tarnished past). At this point in history we (Africans) are a democratic republic in name only. The actual functioning of our country is an oligarchy at best."

Lato Mpobane voiced: “A country (the US) that has been built on brutal force; on enslavement of other human beings; on the humiliation of Africans; the exploitation of Africans; the plunder of Africa … is coming to teach us about democracy. That’s arrogance; imperialist arrogance."

Darrin Brunk remarked: “The American people need to know this, accept this, and attempt to heal the wounds that WE (the US) caused. At the same time we should dismantle and reform our foreign influencing bureaucracy. They have too much power."

Grace Lumumba declared: “I call upon African leaders not to fall for the Western propaganda, ideologies and lies, but all 55 African countries must truly stay vigilant to strongly guard against their God-given cultures, traditions and religions."

Jomar Miller asserted: “I’m truly happy that this is happening. As Americans we must acknowledge that our country has been doing what they are doing to Trump now or worse in other countries for decades. In order to move forward and have true democracy around the world, the US must respect other countries."

Universoul Human noted: “So true. And not only in Africa but in Latin America as well (where the US removed democratically elected leaders for its selfish interests."

Hichilema, who is increasingly becoming the Western world’s “most favoured boy" in the continent, is equally being monitored with suspicion by fellow Southern African Development Community (SADC) leadership. Zambia has been denounced as sliding into authoritarianism under Hichilema and the UPND.

The main opposition Patriotic Front (PF), which lost power at the last general elections in2021, has been at the receiving end of a crackdown against the critics of the government, in a crackdown veiled as a crusade against corruption.

The family of the immediate past president, Edgar Lungu, has not been spared the clampdown.

“Similarly, the rule of law is under assault as seen where law enforcement agencies have been turned into weapons against citizens and institutions such the Auditor General’s office," Given Lubinda, PF Vice President, said.

There has been an escalation of the harassment of media and journalists in recent months despite assurance by Hichilema that his government was committed to a free press.

In March, authorities detained Namo Phiri and Abel Musonda, journalists at the privately owned broadcaster Millennium TV, while they covered a protest by opposition members at the Civic Centre in Lusaka. They were released later without charge.

In January, supporters of UNDP raided two radio stations and disrupted broadcasts by Chilufya Tayali, president of the opposition Economic and Equity Party. Journalists were reportedly assaulted.

Earlier, police detained TV journalist Innocent Phiri and camera operator Obvious Kapunda, as they covered the arrest of Tayali at his Lusaka home.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) denounced the trend.

Critics have decried how government agencies have been filled with pro-ruling party officials.

This includes at the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

Mwangala Zaloumis and McDonald Chipenzi, appointed by Hichilema as ECZ chairperson and commissioner respectively, are branded as loyalists of the ruling party. Their partiality is thus in question.

This is seen as a ploy to rig elections in future.

– CAJ News

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