ZAMBIANS must raise the red flag over the reported involvement of foreigners in the country’s internal affairs, especially the forthcoming tripartite elections. And President Edgar Lungu is spot on when he warns foreigners not to interfere with the electoral process because Zambia is a sovereign country. Mr Lungu has expressed shock at some foreign officials …
ZAMBIANS must raise the red flag over the reported involvement of foreigners in the country’s internal affairs, especially the forthcoming tripartite elections.
And President Edgar Lungu is spot on when he warns foreigners not to interfere with the electoral process because Zambia is a sovereign country.
Mr Lungu has expressed shock at some foreign officials who leave their countries to come and tell Zambians who to vote for and rightly so.
He said in as much as foreign officials were allowed to monitor elections in Zambia, they should not interfere with the electoral processes.
Yes, it raises a lot of questions when for example non-Zambians are said to be in the forefront and planning to run a Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) project.
There is nothing wrong if the PVT is conducted by one of the parties contesting the polls or any local entity as long as it is done in conformity with provisions of the law.
But when foreigners take the front seat, it changes the whole scenario.
Already, we have reported about the controversy surrounding the PVT project scheduled for the August 12 elections which has sparked protest among OCiDA members following reports that it has been hijacked by a partisan UPND team assembled by Lusaka businessman Diego Casilli.
But how does Mr Casilli take it upon himself to be involved in local politics when he is not a Zambian or accredited observer?
Mr Casilli had confirmed to this newspaper that he was involved in the PVT project but explained that “we proposed the PVT concept to OCiDA. Due to limitations of funding, OCiDA took the decision to withdraw from the collaboration.”
Mr Casilli has insisted that the PVT was not hijacked. Our take is that it has been hijacked as founding members of OCiDA were disturbed by reports that the project had been handed over to him.
Zambians must ask Mr Casilli to explain why he is so keen to finance this project that has caused the founding members of OCiDA so uncomfortable.
We all know the genesis of OCiDA and its hidden agenda for regime change in favour of one of the country’s opposition parties.
But as Lusaka lawyer Tutwa Ngulube noted, in what capacity was Mr Casilli working to spearhead the PVT project as among other things he was a diplomat and therefore not supposed to meddle in the country’s internal affairs.
Apart from being Honorary Consul-General for Belgium, in Zambia, Mr Casilli was reportedly aligned to UPND President Hakainde Hichilema in business and politics.
Mr Ngulube said diplomats were prohibited from meddling in politics of the host country. He said a PVT was part of politics hence diplomats were expected to stay away from such an activity.
Mr Casilli must indeed explain how he would be able to function as a diplomat, representing a foreign government and as an active participant in the country’s electoral system through a questionable PVT programme.
The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) president, Mr Andrew Ntewewe did not mince his words and called on Belgium, to strip him of the position.
Mr Ntewewe termed Mr Casilli’s conduct as an “overt and blatant interference” in the country’s internal affairs.
He said elections were a national sacred security matter in which only indigenous Zambians should take part without the interference of diplomats.
We feel Zambians must be left alone to determine their destiny and choose leaders they feel deserve to be trusted to run the country.