IS THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT OPTING FOR GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY?

Filed under: Statements |

ACBy Brig Gen Godfrey Miyanda6
Last night the ZNBC Television reported that the United States Government (US) has endorsed President Edgar Lungu as the legitimately elected President of Zambia. Had it not been for the reported threats allegedly issued by the US Government against Zambian opposition political parties I would have kept quiet. But threats by the Mighty US against the people of Zambia cannot be taken lightly, especially when they arise from the recent “democratic presidential election” which has been challenged in our Zambian Constitutional Court! I DO NOT believe the statement attributed to the US government; I would rather give them the benefit of doubt.

Here is the news item quoting Mr Amos Chanda, President Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations: “The US Government has endorsed President Edgar Lungu as Zambia’s 6th President. And the US has urged opposition political parties in Zambia to accept defeat in the just ended 11th August general elections. The US Government has stated that President Lungu was legitimately elected after he achieved a 50 percent plus one vote threshold. ZNBC’s Bangwe Naviley reports that the Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations disclosed this after US Under Secretary of State Linda Thomas Greenfield called on President Lungu at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. The US government has warned that perpetrators of violence will be dealt with under both national and international law.” End of quote.

Under the Zambian Constitution and the Electoral law aggrieved contestants have a right to challenge the outcome of an election. Even without being briefed, with their sophisticated systems of watching everybody, the Americans must surely be aware of this! I urge the US government to confirm whether they issued the statement as alleged or to disown it. I emphasise that it would be impolitic of the US government to keep quiet over this serious allegation of their alleged interference in the internal dispute in Zambia which has NOT been determined conclusively!

As already stated, I do not believe Mr Chanda’s allegations attributed to the US Government, regarding the legitimacy or otherwise of the 11th August presidential election as these are the very issues properly contested but not heard nor determined. The two Zambian citizens (NOT American citizens) did NOT at any time withdraw their petition as was done by Al Gore against George Bush junior of the USA. The practice is that statements of this nature are made either as a Joint Communique signed by the parties involved or separate statements are made by the representatives of each side engaged in a discussion. In this case the Under Secretary of State has NOT been shown speaking, instead it was the Zambian talking on behalf of the US government. In fairness to the US Government, I doubt that the US has taken it upon itself to declare legitimate an election conducted in Zambia when the Constitutional Court of Zambia has not so declared; neither has the said Court expressly declared the status of that petition which they kept alive by adjournment on 3rd September 2016 to continue to be heard by the said Court from 5th September 2016 to 8th September 2016!

Mr Chanda’s statement suggests that the US government is ready to intervene in the election dispute in Zambia. I thought President Lungu travelled to the US to attend the UN Conference with a specific agenda. Has President Lungu requested for help from the US Government? If so what are the grounds for such a request? Has President Lungu reported to the American Government that there is instability in Zambia and that he has failed to contain the situation and hence the request for American assistance? And why the American Government specifically? Why not the Israeli or Chinese governments, for instance?

There must be full disclosure of what is going on. The US Government should confirm the statement by Mr Chanda or disown it. I reserve further comments until then.

GODFREY MIYANDA,
BRIGADIER GENERAL,
A CONCERNED CITIZEN
[19TH SEPTEMBER 2016]