State House denies allegations, OCIDA petitions US for sanctions on Zambian officials

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STATE House has refuted allegations of rights abuses leveled by the Our Civic Duty Association (OCIDA) against President Hakainde Hichilema and other top officials.

Clayson Hamasaka, a Communications Specialist from State House, dismissed the claims as “a collection of falsehoods” aimed at discrediting the government.

Yesterday, OCIDA petitioned the US government to impose sanctions including financial restrictions and travel bans on President Hichilema, Inspector General of Police Graphel Musamba, Electoral Commission Chairperson Mwangala Zaloumis, and others for allegedly undermining democratic rights.

The petition, addressed to US ambassador Michael Gonzales, cited restrictions on opposition rallies, judicial delays, and executive interference as justifications for sanctions.

But Hamasaka highlighted the country’s progress on democracy and urged OCIDA to prioritize national unity.

He questioned the involvement of Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, citing his age, and suggested the document originated from known government critics.

Citing Zambia’s recent economic hardships and ongoing fight against drought Hamasaka argued that sanctions would only exacerbate the situation.

He questioned how any rational individual could call for economic sanctions against a country already enduring so much.

“Even during the height of abuses under president Edgar Lungu, where many people were murdered and others maimed by state-sponsored political thugs and the police… no one, neither OCIDA nor any civil society organizations, called for sanctions against Zambia,” Hamasaka said.

“Isn’t it coincidental that this OCIDA statement is emerging at a time when Zambia has been recognized by V-Dem as one of the top three democratizing countries in the world, following the autocratic rule of Edgar Lungu?”

He urged OCIDA to set aside any personal animosity towards the President and consider the peace, unity, and future of this country.

“OCIDA must not drive this country into lawlessness by fostering division among its citizens,” added Hamasaka.

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba March 14, 2024

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