Oasis Forum calls for an end to political violence in Zambia.

Oasis Forum LogoThe Oasis Forum says it is extremely disturbed, appalled and greatly saddened by the increasing incidents of politically motivated violence in the run-up to the August 11 General

Oasis Forum Chairman Fr Cleophas Lungu PNG
Oasis Forum Chairman Fr Cleophas Lungu

Elections. The Forum says this is despite the commitments political parties pronounced at the Indaba on political violence held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on 29th March 2016.

It said it is disheartening that the resolutions of that Indaba have been thrown to the wind and our political leaders are once more letting the country down.

The Oasis Forum includes the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), the Non-Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC).

Forum Chairman Fr Cleophas Lungu said the wise counsel of the Church and other stakeholders in the governance of the country has not been heeded by the authorities responsible for maintaining law and order. Fr Lungu observed that political violence has been on the rise at a very alarming rate.

“The Oasis Forum observes that the incidences of political violence are symptomatic of a serious breakdown of law and order in the country and are a threat not only to the holding of free, fair and credible elections, as expected in August 2016, but also to our very existence as a sovereign state which has enjoyed relative peace on the African Continent for over fifty years. Something drastic needs to be done sooner than later,” Fr Lungu said.

He said the Oasis Forum also wishes to register its deep concern over the conduct of the Zambia Police Service who continue to fail to discharge their statutory functions and to act impartially in maintaining law and order.

“In the past, the Oasis Forum made repeated calls to the Zambia Police and other state law enforcement agencies to act decisively and bring all perpetrators of violence to justice as a way of preserving peace in the country. However, we are deeply shocked by the apparent impotence of the police when the unruly cadres from the ruling party take the law into their hands and commit abominable acts in their face.”

He added. “And yet, the same police will apply excessive force when confronting members of the opposition. On the other hand, the behaviour of some cadres from the opposition leaves much to be desired. Indeed, no legal excuse can be given for citizens taking the law into their own hands, even on account of failure by the police to objectively and professionally administer the Public Order Act (POA).”

Fr Lungu has since appealed for calm and maximum restraint from especially the members of the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND).

“It is incumbent on all of us not to do or say anything that might worsen an already volatile situation. The Oasis Forum also calls on the youth to desist from being used by political actors to intimidate other political players who have the same right to belong to a party of their choice and hold divergent political opinions.”


New Constitution, Better Lives for all – Zambia

Grand Coalition New Constitution Mulungushi 2014 06The Great Coalition for a People-Driven Constitution organised a major event at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on the 30th August 2014 under the theme: New Constitution, Better Lives for all.
The Panellists drove the attention of about 300 people representing every Province of the country calling for the new constitution to be made public and approved through a referendum before the next general election in 2016. The Panellists were from various Churches and the Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia, from the Labour Movement, the Disability Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Youth Movement and Students Movement. A political leader spoke also on behalf of the 16 Political Parties existing in Zambia. Dr. V.J. Mwaanga, former well-known Politician gave also a solidarity speech encouraging the Coalition to increase its mobilisation drive in favour of a People-Driven Constitution. Father Cleophas Lungu form the Zambian Episcopal Conference concluded the speeches on behalf of Oasis Forum.

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Attack on a peaceful gathering of several civil society organisations in a church – Lusaka

What is so “golden” about Zambia’s jubilee? Asks Oasis Forum!

Press Statement by the Oasis Forum – 20th Feb 2014

The Post LogoZambians should hold politicians to account – Mwaanga
Vernon Mwaanga says Zambians should awaken and begin to hold politicians accountable for their promises.
And Fr Cleophas Lungu said Zambians need to bring into question the integrity of their leaders when they renege on their promises.  
In his solidarity speech at the grand coalition for a people-driven constitution meeting in Lusaka on Saturday, Mwaanga said politicians should honour their promises.
“Far too long, we have allowed politicians as Zambians to go scot-free on promises they make. The PF promised to accord Zambians a new constitution but to date, nothing seems forthcoming. We don’t have the draft constitution yet and we don’t even know where it is,” the veteran politician said. “Zambians should awaken and hold politicians to account for their promises. If PF does not keep their promises, in 2016, it will face brunt consequences.”
Vernon-MwaangaMwaanga said it was not correct for the government to advance reasons of cost for the delay in the constitution-making process.
“When the PF made a promise to deliver a new constitution, obviously they knew that the exercise is costly. Indeed democracy is costly,” said Mwaanga.
And Fr Lungu, in his address on behalf of the Oasis Forum, said it was sad that politicians liked using falsehoods to deceive Zambians.
“We need to begin bringing into question the integrity of our leaders when they make promises. They come with falsehoods and make promises but make political U-turns when in government,” he said.
“Let’s state here that the day of reckoning is surely coming. The government should respect the will of Zambians in their demand for a people-driven constitution… I would therefore, like to warn the PF that God is watching. Let’s cast out fear as Zambians. Let’s not be afraid of going to prison for demanding for a people-driven constitution. Great liberation is demanding and is a costly affair.”
Fr Lungu said Zambians should mobilise and campaign peacefully to press the government to release the draft constitution.

Press Statement by the Oasis Forum – 20th Feb 2014

Oasis Forum all LogosDelivering unto ourselves a new and people driven constitution is the best way to celebrate Zambia’s golden jubilee
The Oasis Forum, do hereby fully support the recent observations made by Reverend Suzanne Matale from the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) that it is difficult to see the “joy” of the Jubilee-Year in Zambia when so many of our people, including our dear freedom fighters, are wallowing in abject poverty and being subjected to fear and intimidation by their own leaders. In addition, we would like to reiterate the demand we earlier made that the best Jubilee gift for Zambia in this “Year of the Lord’s Favor” is a new and people driven constitution. Thus, notwithstanding the current Government’s many attempts to stall and their maneuvers to abort the constitution making process, we the Oasis Forum remain resolved to mobilize the masses at the grassroots and campaign, in a peaceful manner, for the immediate release of the final draft of the constitution and its enactment through a national referendum. So, help us God! FULL TEXT

What is so “golden” about Zambia’s jubilee? Asks Oasis Forum!

Oasis Forum LogoOver 70 people from various Churches, NGO’s and the media responded to the invitation of Oasis Forum for a Press Conference which took place at the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) in Lusaka on the 8th January 2014 at 9:30 hours. The theme of the conference was about the kind of political leadership Zambia needs in the coming Year of its Golden Jubilee, 50th year of independence.
The panellists did not hesitate to use straight forward words: “poor political governance”, “we need a clear vision”, “we expect changes in governance”, “we are experiencing a leadership of abuse aiming at personal interests”, “we need now a people driven constitution”, “mediocrity will not be accepted”, “we want to celebrate a Jubilee without fear”, “the new constitution has to be brought to a referendum in 2014”, “the actual constitutional review is not transparent”, “time has come to unite”, “we need to strategize peacefully the best way to force the Government to take up its promises to come out with a new constitution”, “we are determined to fight and get what we want”, “we are at a crossroad”, “the new constitution is a moral issue to be preached from the pulpit in all our churches”, “let’s arise!”.
Reporter: Serge St-Arneault, M.Afr
As we soldier on in this Golden Jubilee Year in Zambia, kindly find herewith attached a Press Statement from the Oasis Forum with regard to the constitution making process in Zambia and lack of true leadership by successive regimes.
Wishing you God’s continued guidance and many blessings in the New Year 2014.
Fr. Cleophas Lungu
The year 2014 marks Zambia’s Golden Jubilee having attained independence in 1964. Reflections on the quality of political governance experienced throughout this period clearly shows that this country’s development has been consistently undermined by a self-centred political leadership. The current PF government has not been any different and has gone further to exhibit a less than high calibre of leadership. For this reason, the Oasis Forum would like to state the following and urges all Zambians, especially the political elite, to seriously ponder on these messages: … FULL TEXT

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 Further link: After 50 years of independence a constitution focused on popular sovereignty is needed
Or see the PDF Document

The Constitution Review Process in Zambia Needs Legal Protection

Oasis Forum LogoThe Oasis Forum has consistently urged Government to consider protecting the on-going constitutional review process with a legal framework.  Evidently, the history of constitution making in Zambia has shown that in the absence of such legal provisions, this process as well as the outcomes have been prone to manipulation and capture, all sorts of inefficiencies and outright confusion.
For sure, history seems to be repeating itself today with the current constitution making process.  The recent statements attributed to the Spokesperson of the Technical Committee on Drafting the Constitution clearly illustrate the repercussions of undertaking constitution making processes without paying serious attention to the importance of underpinning the process within a legal framework.
First and foremost, it is saddening to note that the Committee has failed to avail the people of Zambia with the final opportunity to validate their input in the process.  The shortcoming in time could have been a foreseen challenge had the process been premised on a clearly laid down roadmap.  Second and perhaps more threatening, reminiscent of past tendencies, it would be a serious error for the document to be handed only to the Republican President.  It is only just and fair that this document lands in the hands of the Public who are the rightful custodians, the Republican President and Parliament at the same time!
It is on this basis that the Forum is earnestly appealing to the Patriotic Front Government, Members of the Drafting Committee and the Minister of Justice to exhibit genuine patriotism by adhering to principles of constitutionalism.  In fact, it is not too late to institute a process of legally protecting the on-going constitution making process.  This request is in the interest of all well-meaning Zambians!
Fr. Cleophas Lungu
(Oasis Forum Spokesperson)
Previous statement:

Attack on a peaceful gathering of several civil society organisations in a church – Lusaka