PF Cadres attack a Woman
By Fridah Nkonde-Mubanga.
The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council says Zambia is a democratic state which entails that citizens are free to belong to any political party of their choice.
Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Chairperson Mary Mulenga in a statement appealed to the leadership of the PF and other political parties to instill discipline in their members.
”The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) condemns in the strongest terms the harassment of a female civil servant at the Ministry of Works and Supply by some Patriotic Front (PF) members on suspicion that she was a member of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND). As the women’s movement, we are deeply concerned with the growing culture of impunity by some members of the ruling party. The incident at the Ministry of Works and Supply is not isolated as there have been numerous other cases of PF cadres closing off offices for civil servants in other parts of the country. There have also been reports of cadres breaking into radio stations to stop opposition figures from featuring on these stations. The situation is even worse in market places and bus stations across the country, and women are mostly at the receiving end of these criminal activities,” Ms. Mulenga stated.
“Zambia is a democratic state which entails that citizens are free to belong to any political party of their choice. While we are cognizant of the fact that the rules and regulations of the civil service and other organisations like ourselves, do not allow civil servants and others to practice partisan politics, there are laid down procedures as to how to deal with erring officers. It is not, we repeat it is not within the province of party cadres to begin to police civil servants or indeed any other persons for that matter as to their association, as their conduct is in total breach of the Republican Constitution. Our Constitution guarantees the Freedom of Association for all citizens, including the right to belong to a party of one’s choice.”
Ms. Mulenga stated that there was need to arrest and address the growing impunity and lawlessness by the cadres.
She stated that it was unfortunate that the lawlessness and criminality was being done in the name of the President.
“I will go back to the NGOCC meeting with His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, held on September 17 2019 at which we raised a number of issues one of which was ‘political and electoral violence.’ In our submission to the President, we said on that day, ‘Your Excellency, during the 2016 general elections NGOCC was very clear in raising our voices on the worrying trend in the unprecedented political and electoral violence that resulted in loss of life as well as discouraging quite a number of electorates from participating effectively in this important democratic rights issue. We have consistently stated that no leader, anywhere in society wishes to preside over a violent nation and whose people are violated in the process of exercising their right in the democratic dispensation. We call upon you your Excellency, to exercise your leadership and bring to a stop the growing cadreism which by and large is the agitator of most of the political and electoral violence that has been witnessed. As a women’s movement we desire to see political contestation of ideas and ideals and not the unabated trend of personal attacks and the use of uncivilized language. The political landscape should surely create a fertile ground for mature politics of service and tolerance for our future generation.’” Ms. Mulenga stated.
She hoped that punitive measures would be meted against the PF members that misconducted themselves at the Ministry of Works and Supply so that it could serve as a deterrent.
And Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development (ZNMNGD) National Coordinator Nelson Banda described the harassment of a female civil servant at the Ministry of Works and Supply by some Patriotic Front (PF) members as disgusting and embarrassing.
“The conduct of these individuals was uncalled for and is a criminal act which should not be condoned. As an organization that works with men and boys to end Gender-Based Violence, we are appealing to all political parties not to entertain members with questionable behaviours that violet the rights of people and the integrity of women,” Mr. Banda stated.
“Institutions have codes of conduct. It is therefore imperative that those outside such institutions know and appreciate channels of dealing with grievances that they may have. The episode as seen on video was not only disgusting but embarrassing as it showed fragrant abuse of an individual. We are calling upon political leadership to institute measures that will not allow people of questionable character to take the law into their own hands.”