Zambia: Gov’t dismisses Hakainde Hichilema’s claim of violence ahead of elections

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba has dismissed opposition’s leader Hakainde Hichilema’s claim of political instability in the country ahead of the August 11, elections as an attempt to merely scandalise the credible electoral process.

Hichilema, president of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), has written to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon seeking intervention over Zambian President Edgar Lungu’s “threats on democracy and the breakdown of law and order”.

Hichilema’s letter was copied to South African President Jacob Zuma, Southern African Development Community Chairman Ian Khama, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Dean of the African diplomatic corps David Banda, and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Executive Secretary Muburi Muita.

Hichilema also wrote to the US Ambassador Eric Schultz, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, chairman of the African Union Idris Deby, Chairman of the African Union Paul Kagame, Ambassador of the Commission of the European Union to Zambia Alessandro Mariani and SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lewis-Tax.

His letter read: “Recent events in our country give rise to serious concerns on our part, which require the attention, intervention and urgent engagement of your organizations. We are immensely proud of our country’s previous peaceful elections and we would not like this record to be tarnished.

“Recent acts of State and political party violence have put our country in a state of uncertainty and the potential for breakdown of law and order which could quite easily degenerate into a civil war, which must be avoided at all costs.”

The UPND leader said that if the situation remained unchecked, it would produce serious consequences for the country.

“This state of affairs is menacingly leading to a breakdown of law and order in our country and concerns to this effect have also been voiced in equal measure by the Human Rights Commission of Zambia, the Law Association of Zambia, the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Council and the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), who have accused ECZ and the Zambia police of being biased against opposition parties,” Hichilema said.

“We fear that if this situation remains unchecked, it could produce serious consequences for our country and its people, hence this urgent request for Your Excellencies’ engagement and intervention. I am confident that you will give this matter the urgency and seriousness it deserves.”

But Foreign Affairs Minister Kalaba said in the statement he was shocked that Hichilema could write such a “demeaning and unpatriotic letter against the spirit of his own country”.
“It is imperative to state that the basis and foundation of his letter holds no truth and is an attempt to merely scandalise the credible electoral process,” Kalaba said.

He pointed out that President Lungu had been at the forefront of ensuring that Law and Order is preserved and the inter-party violence incidences were curbed, adding that on the other hand, Hichilema had promoted activities that violated peace, law and order by defying the law and public order act.

“We therefore call upon Zambians and the recipients of this desperate letter to dismiss its contents and regard it as only worth for its nuisance value,” Kalaba said.


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