By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga say that Government disputes the alleged findings of the Amnesty International that the Zambian Government is restricting freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Mr Malupenga said Government has taken note of the report released by Amnesty International, which alleges that the Zambian people are being ruled by fear and repression.
He said contrary to the assertion made by the Amnesty International in its 2021 Report on Zambia, a vibrant civil society exists in Zambia, alongside a thriving independent media and an impartial judiciary that protects civil liberties and checks any possible excesses of the Executive.
Mr Malupenga said the people of Zambia are free to criticise public officials while opposition parties are allowed to conduct public meetings in accordance with the law and the public health guidelines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The alleged findings that many people have been arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression; opposition parties and civil society organisations have been prevented from holding peaceful public assemblies; critical media outlets have been shut down; several associations such as trade unions and political parties have had their certificates of registration cancelled; and that a number of people have lost their lives, often at the hands of the police, with few consequences for those suspected to be responsible, are out of context and should be disregarded,” he said.
He has assured Zambian citizens and the international community that there is no cause for alarm. The Government and its leadership is doing everything possible to ensure that the country holds free and fair elections on 12th of August, 2021.