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Zambian bishops strongly criticize government intimidation, repression

Catholic World News - January 27, 2014

Stating that “the political environment in Zambia today is characterized by manipulation, patronage and intimidation of perceived government opponents,” the nation’s bishops strongly criticized the government of President Michael Sata at a January 23 press conference.

Sata, a Catholic, was elected in 2011.

“We note with deep concern that the strides Zambia could have made continue to be negated and eroded by governance arrogance of the know-it-all type,” the bishops stated. “There is demonstration of lack of humility among some of our leaders and this has led to lack of stakeholder consultation when making decisions on key policy matters. Why is it that those who try to question certain practices are treated with scorn and humiliation? These are maneuvers meant to intimidate people from participating in their own affairs and providing checks and balances in the governance of this country.”

Citing “lack of political integrity among our politicians and leaders, the selective application of the Public Order Act by the Zambia Police Service, the deteriorating human rights situation in our country, [and] intimidation and police repressions,” the bishops urged the government “to stop using state security institutions to intimidate its own nationals. The police service in particular must be professional and impartial in carrying out their duties of maintaining law and order.”

Located in East Africa, the nation of 14.2 million is 33% Catholic.

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