Zambia-Politics

Inside Zambia’s Yellow Card protest movement

APA-Lusaka (Zambia)

“This may be the first but certainly it is not going to be the last time that the government will hear from us”, said Pilato, one of the organizers of Zambia’s Yellow Card protest movement on the grounds outside parliament in Lusaka.

The movement was called on Sunday to protest ‘widespread official corruption', drawing hundreds of demonstrators including civil society groups and ordinary Zambians concerned about what they called the reckless levels of graft permeating the government.

There was frantic flashing of yellow cards by protesters ostensibly to the government which many have come to dismiss as synonymous with a culture of financial impropriety that has taken root in  

To wild cheers from the sea of passionate protesters clad in all-yellow, Pilato pitched his rhetoric higher.

“Zambians spoke out today and this is not the last but just one of the many protests to come….we will stand firmly in the belief that Zambia is a country like any other and it’s people are human beings who deserve dignity and pride”.

Speaking in his capacity as one of the pioneers of the protest movement against graft, he said it was time something was done to check the ‘rapid advance’ of corruption in the government of Edgar Lungu.

Activist, Laura Miti took her warning further.

“To politicians we say we will keep this card up. Remember that when warnings are not heeded the colour of the card changes,” she said.

Human rights lawyer, Linda Kasonde who heads the Chapter One Foundation exhorted her peers as guardians of the law to take the government to task over its supposed misconduct in Zambia.

Kasonde said she joined the protest movement to continue defending the Gambian constitution, an undertaking she made some eighteen years ago.

“I hope that all lawyers in Zambia will do the same” she added.

The Yellow Card movement was born out of a general frustration among Zambians about the government which is widely seen as condoning corruption.

There was an uproar last year when the government’s then Finance minister resigned in protest over what he called serious corruption.

However, the Lungu administration has stuck to a familiar refrain despite tacitly acknowledging that graft is an issue.

The government insisted that it is taking strident steps to tackle the scourge.

Spokespersons Dora Siliya said Zambia’s commitment to fighting corruption was indisputable.

She said arrests have followed a probe by the government’s investigative unit which is gathering evidence against those fingered in official graft.

Ms Siliya cited the latest Auditor General’s report on corruption as suggesting that the number of cases of misappropriation of public funds is on the wane.


WN/as/APA

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