ZAMBIA: Church, Civil Society Condemn Government Attacks on Citizens and Media

LUSAKA OCTOBER 21, 2016 (CISA) – Churches and civil society in Zambia have condemned attacks on citizens and media citing government’s attempt to diminish dissenting voices of citizens.

In an October 19 press statement, the organisations under the banner Oasis Forum, through its chair, Fr Cleophas Lungu came out strongly against intimidation.

“The Oasis Forum is becoming increasingly alarmed at the trend of political intimidation and physical attacks against citizens and members of the private media, most recently against Komboni Radio and Prime TV and generally the violation of human rights on Zambian citizens,” the statement read.

“The Republic of Zambia is still a constitutional democracy. For democracy to thrive, basic human rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of movement and freedom of association must be allowed to exist without impediment,” the statement added.

It further stated that democracy also demands that everyone’s views should be heard whether they are in tandem with the status quo or not.

“All people are created equal and therefore their views, whether we agree with them or not, must be heard and accommodated in a democratic dispensation.”

The statement also recognised the apology of the Republican Vice-President over the remarks that the assault of journalist Lesa Nyirenda were warranted saying that violence of this nature has no place in a Christian democracy such Zambia’s.

The statement further urged the government and all citizens to help foster a spirit of genuine dialogue, reconciliation, peace and unity in the nation.

The Oasis Forum is a convention of Church and civil society organisations comprising of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ); Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ); Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB); Non-Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ).

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