Government needs to organise a serious inter-party indaba with all political stakeholders in order to defuse the unnecessary tension currently prevailing in the country, after the protests at the University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Road Campus.
Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) vice president Charles Kafumbo said the random arrests of opposition political party leaders were a direct attack on Zambia’s democracy earned so far.
“It is a mockery to our hard fought for democracy, and that our country’s economy was on stand still because of the deliberate intimidations from the ruling party,” Mr. Kafumbo said.
He explained that the recent strike by UNZA lecturers and the two subsequent violent protests by the students at the highest learning institution were a clear indication of the tension in the nation, and advised the PF through government to organise interparty dialogue.
He said the government should be careful not get to the situation in South Africa where industrial unrest at a mine has lead to over 30 civilians dead.
“UNZA has not been well catered in the area of funding, and that is why the lecturers were on strike and now students are protesting, which means the PF government is not working,” he said.
He called on PF leadership to be mindful of the language tone they used and should desist from issuing statements of hate which were aimed at intimidating the opposition.
“We have observed with concern that the type of language being used by the PF secretary General Wynter Kabimba was a move aimed at intimidating others, there should be civility in the language used by leaders,” he said.
And Mr. Kafumbo has castigated state police against their increased brutality with civilians as in the case of UNZA students during the recent demonstrations.
“The students only wanted to express their grievances but the police reaction with force and brutality was totally uncalled for,” he said.
He said the police seem to enjoy making victims of innocent civilians like in the recent clash when they used tear gas against United Party for National Development (UPND) members and some journalists.
He has since urged the PF government to accept their shortcomings and learn to dialogue in order to successfully deliver on national development.
“It is only when we dialogue that we can resolve the tension in the country,” he said.
He said there was need for all stakeholders to come to the table and discuss address the issues affecting the nation.
Students at UNZA protested for the second time this week, initially against a proposed early closure of the institution and later for the delayed payment of bursaries committees fund for students’ allowances.