By Staff Writer
Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), says it fully supports the protests by the residents of Kitwe against the alleged sale of Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) by government.
PeP Media Director Jeff Mbewe said the Constitution of Zambia in Article 20 and 21 gives citizens’ rights to protest against undesirable decisions of government.
Mr Mbewe said that it is not a crime for the people of Zambia to protest whenever they are dismayed with government policy or decisions.
“We have noted that the Patriotic Front (PF) government has continued to be unaccountable to the citizens of Zambia. They simply do not see the need to be transparent, probably because they consider the concerns of the people as nothing worth giving any consideration.
“The issue of ZAFFICO’s alleged sale to the Chinese started a long time ago but the PF did not see any need to address it before it escalated into protests because they are not an accountable government. Of course those protests by the people of Kitwe were genuine and remain so, because, they border on the livelihood of their families,” he said.
He said PF’s failure to deal with the issue in its inception tells of their guilty in the claims that ZAFFICO has been sold.
Mr Mbewe said the people of Zambia can no longer trust their government because the PF has demonstrated through various ways that it can’t be trusted.
He said PF’s continued lack of transparency does not help matters.
“The government has done so many clandestine things behind the knowledge of the people despite that the Constitution of Zambia sanctions them to make public anything they do on behalf of the people, and this behavior has bred continued suspicions by the people so much that anything done is seen as an act against the interests of Zambia.
“Clearly, other than a few indoctrinated PF zealots, many people now see the PF government as a risk that is willing to auction the country at any given time. It is laughable that the PF is now heaping blame on the opposition on anything that goes wrong in the country,” he said.
Mr Mbewe said what makes the whole blame game against the opposition soporific is the fact that, PF had to wait for protests, and then decided to blame the opposition of allegedly inciting the people when the whole issue could have been addressed much earlier.
“What a sloppy way of dealing with issues by PF. What an incompetent group of characters we have in government. As PeP, we do not blame those who protested against the alleged sale of ZAFFICO. We equally have no moral rights to blame the people of Kitwe for the sum effects of their genuine protests. Any consequences that ensued thereafter are a result of government’s lack of transparency, and incompetence and are therefore blamed on the PF,” he said.