Dear fellow citizens,
It is high time we clearly defined the type of country and society we are shaping for ourselves now and for future generations.
While we were in Luapula, and North Western Provinces thanking voters, we kept receiving very disturbing but credible reports that we would come under heavy and deliberately sponsored attacks by very well known political competitors who dished out huge amounts of money to a few jobless youths in some areas, especially on the Copperbelt.
Unfortunately, the nature of our tours are such that before we conduct these tours and interactions with our fellow citizens, we inform local law state enforcement agencies to provide security for our meetings and also as a requirement under the archaic Public Order Act.
It is now increasingly becoming clear to us that this same requirement is now proving to be the same source of danger to our lives and political situation and national stability because our competitors now use this information to sponsor and arm jobless youths in these areas to harm us.
We were humbly welcomed at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International airport in Ndola with multitudes that were eager to hear our messages of hope and alternative economic recovery policies.
We proceeded to Kitwe where we inspected our newly opened party secretariat.
And true to the reports we were getting, our entourage that included journalists and officials, came under severe and savage attacks and beatings by ironically the same known people and identities we were being told had been sponsored by key PF officials.
They came with all sorts of dangerous weapons clearly with the intention to cause maximum harm.
A few people were injured and thank God we survived after they were repelled by our sympathisers and security team.
Later we proceeded to Kitwe Show Ground where we held a very successful meeting and were joined by more than 5000 new members from other political parties, something that was very humbling to us.
Later in the evening, we had scheduled for a live interactive radio programme on Chengelo Radio station where we wanted to share our ideas and alternative economic policies with our fellow citizens and also equally hear their concerns so we could address them.
We were again informed that our advance team at the radio station was being attacked so we could not feature for the radio programme. Our local team demanded for an all outright fight so we could feature at all costs but I personally intervened because life was more precious and hence no need to shade Zambian blood.
To our surprise, the sponsored attackers followed us to Moba Hotel where we were residing and taking a rest and the premises became a battle ground with live ammunition being fired right inside the hotel corridors.
Our rooms were full of teargas until the attackers were eventually overpowered and guns were confiscated from them.
This situation coming at a time many families are facing depressing times due to economic challenges that needs urgent address is very unhealthy in our young democracy.
One would have thought such a scary movie like situation would be a battle ground for ideas on how best and quickly we can join hands together as a country to tackle our economic challenges.
Honestly, when are we going to sit down as one united people to address issues of poor living and work conditions for our miners, challenging situations for our mine suppliers, avoidance of university closures, lowering the fuel costs, paying farmers, come up with solutions for the current electricity deficit that has led to massive load shedding, falling Kwacha, high interest rates, reduce debt burden, and provide decent education for our children as well as create decent jobs for our people, especially the youths?
One would have thought these and others would be the real issues we would be arming ourselves so as to fight poverty in the country than lifting guns, machetes, stones and pangas with intention to kill one another because we are political competitors seeking to serve the people of Zambia.
Just where is this culture of political violence in our society coming from which has the potential to escalate and degenerate into an unimaginable situation if our supporters also decided to arm themselves and retaliate in self defence as others are doing?
The challenge now is for those of us in leadership to stop and address this situation as we go into next year’s elections, especially as evidenced in the recent bye elections.
It is even a bigger challenge for those in government who control and command state security apparatus to treat all citizens fairly regardless of their political opinions.
Democracy entails tolerance for one another as we can’t all have same views.