Take us out of business, Miti tells PF Govt by doing the correct things
Alliance for Community Action executive director Laura Miti has challenged the PF government to take civil society organisations out of business by simply reducing poverty among Zambians.
And governance activist Pamela Chisanga says because of the government’s intolerance and aversion to listen to citizens, she feels like she is trespassing when she is near State House.
Speaking when she featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday night, Miti said civil society organisations were not too animated because “we want to be heard or we want to be quoted.”
“[But] I think that the biggest worry is that we have a whole government that seems not to understand exactly how the country is feeling and fails to respond. So, the President and the Cabinet needs to listen to the people, needs to speak to the people. They could actually put us (CSOs) out of business. They could actually silence us by simply giving the people the answers to the questions they have, mostly by holding government to account,” she said.
“Our relationship with anybody in power is only through the services they deliver. We don’t want to go and have tea with them or anything. We want this country to be a place where we can get on with our business, knowing [that] government is doing the right thing and that we are able to hold government to account.”
Miti asserted that Zambia’s resources ought to trickle down and be able offer to a minimum standard of living for everybody.
“Again, we say to those in government; this is not personal [but] it is about our Zambia. We don’t want to make you personally unhappy, to make you fail to sleep or for you to fail to enjoy your power. We believe that you have that power on behalf of the majority and right now, we do not like the way the country we are living in is being run. If you changed it even tomorrow, you could take us out of business. So, we challenge government; take us out of business, give us nothing to talk about. Make the poor not [to] suffer to the extent to which they are because we all have only this Zambia,” emphasised Miti.
On the same programme, Chisanga regretted that “all platforms for engagement are closed” in Zambia
“When we raise these issues, it doesn’t matter how and where you raise them; we are not being listened to. One of the things that have really shocked me is the current Head of State because he, of all people, is one of those few that had the opportunity to walk into a room where we were sitting as civil society organisations with the late Head of State, Michael Sata. We were arguing with him (Sata) and challenging him on issues. A number of times, most of the ministers that are in the current government saw us go into State House and engaging the Head of State as civil society organisations leaders. We knew that we had that opportunity and we could go and stand at the gate there and demand to see the Head of State. Of course, we know that there are protocols and all these things…” She explained.
Chisanga observed that the trend currently at State House was different.
“Today if you go to the gates of State House, you will not find anybody there! But in a normal democracy, citizens should feel that they have an opportunity to be heard. They should feel safe even to walk up to the gate of State House and simply say ‘is the Head of State in? I just want to say hi to him. Please tell him [that] I’m a citizen of this country; I was passing by the gate here….’ Right now whenever I’m passing there (near State House,) I always feel like I’m trespassing. I don’t feel like it’s a place where you can be entertained, tolerated and listened to. That’s not a nice place for us to be as Zambians,” said Chisanga.
Source: The Mast