Friday, February 15, 2013

Commonwealth should make own assessment of Zambia - Mpasa

Commonwealth should make own assessment of Zambia - Mpasa
By Godfrey Chikumbi in Kawambwa
Fri 15 Feb. 2013, 15:20 CAT

COMMONWEALTH member states should treat allegations of human rights abuses by Zambian opposition leaders as mere falsehoods, says Catholic Vicar General for Mansa Fr Mambwe Mpasa.

Commenting on claims in South Africa by UPND's Hakainde Hichilema, MMD's Nevers Mumba and ULP's Sakwiba Sikota that the country was experiencing injustices and human rights abuses at the hands of the PF government, Fr Mpasa said the three opposition leaders' allegations were exaggerations resulting from impatience and panic.

Father Mpasa said the Commonwealth was well aware of the peace and tranquility that Zambia, as its member country, was enjoying hence listening to the three opposition leaders' opinions would be wrong.
He said by advocating for the suspension of Zambia from the Commonwealth, the three opposition leaders were not caring for the Zambians they claimed they were representing.

"Who will be affected if the Commonwealth slaps sanctions our country? It is the ordinary Zambian," said Fr Mpasa.
Fr Mpasa said the opposition leaders were lying about the situation on human rights in Zambia because the alleged abuses had not reached alarming levels to warrant suspension from the Commonwealth.

He said by choosing to address the press on foreign soil, the opposition leaders were washing dirty linen in public because they abandoned domestic avenues to sort their problems out in a foreign country.
"Why go to such extremes when there is nothing alarming? Why choose to seek international attention at the expense of domestic avenues to air your grievances?" asked Fr Mpasa.

He explained that Zambians had not complained about any human rights abuses as was alleged by the opposition leaders.
"Zambians are old enough to decipher right from wrong. They are able to speak out when their rights are abused. It would therefore be wrong for the Commonwealth member states to take as gospel truth unwarranted opinions by three political characters," said Fr Mpasa.

"Let us learn to be truthful; there is no need to lie about situations in the country when all is well. If there are human rights abuses our courts are more than able to deal with such," he said.
"Leaders in the Commonwealth know that we are a true democratic nation and our people have not been subjected to the alleged injustices by those leaders," said Fr Mpasa.

Fr Mpasa urged Commonwealth members to conduct their own observations about Zambia in order for them to make informed decisions about the country.

He said the opinions made by the opposition leaders in South Africa were aimed at inciting Zambians to rise against the government
"Let them (Commonwealth) come on the ground and see what is obtaining. Let them talk to Zambians themselves," said Fr Mpasa.

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