By Evans Aziamor-Mensah
The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) have called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo to intervene in resolving the abuse of executive power in Zambia by President Edgar Lungu.
In a statement jointly signed by Dr. Franklin Oduro, Deputy Director/Head of Research and Programs ,CDD-Ghana and Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director of ACILA, they said that they were particularly calling on Nana Addo to engage with President Lungu because Nana Addo recently returned from a state visit to Zambia and that they believe that he could engage with the situation in Zambia and persuade President Lungu from the recent actions he has been taking, including politically motivated prosecution of political opponents and a proclamation of a Declaration Relating to Threatened Emergency
On April 12,2017, the Zambian opposition leader, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema was arrested and charged with treason for allegedly failing to have his convoy pull of the road for President Lungu’s motorcade.
In March 2017, 48 opposition MP’s were suspended for 30 days for failing to be present in Parliament during the President Lungu’s speech.
The latest action which forced the two non-partisan think tanks to issue the statement was President Lungu’s invocation of Article 31 of the Republican Constitution of Zambia on July 5 2017, proclaiming that a ” situation exist which, if allowed to continue may lead to a public emergency”.
The statement said, President Lungu cited, among other things ,the fire outbreak at the Lusaka city market as justification for making the proclamation which will last for until July 12,2017 unless Parliament extends it. This empowers the President to direct the Zambian Police to search citizens without a warrant and detain suspects longer than it is permitted by law.
CDD-Ghana and ACILA contend that such abuses and an extension of the state of emergency will further aggravate the democratic governance deficits’ situation in Zambia.
“CDD-Ghana and ACILA are concerned that a declaration of a state of emergency will further aggravate the democratic governance deficits’ situation in Zambia. We appeal to the Zambian government to take a second look at this proclamation and reverse the declaration to enable Zambians enjoy their fundamental human rights.”, they added.