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Sunday, January 17, 2021

About Guns and Politics

Columns About Guns and Politics

Dickson Jere
Dickson Jere

By Dickson Jere

A year ago, I made my first attempt to join mainstream politics as Member of Parliament for Matero Constituency. As soon as I made my intention known, I was visited, on several occasions, by so-called security experts who wanted to school me on the need to be safe in my new political journey. Precisely, they wanted me to get a handgun as a first step of a string of security measures that I needed to put in place.

You see, guns have never been part of my life. I grew up in Matero where physical fights gave you a thump up as opposed to using weapons. Knives, screwdrivers and guns were for the weaklings. And so, I learnt how to survive on the streets with bare knuckles and hence my longtime association with boxing, judo and karate.

So, the issue of me getting a gun to protect myself from my supposedly political nemesis did not go down well. It was more of a betrayal of my Matero upbringing.

But again, I was told, I should heed the advice.

Then my mind raced back to my time in government as presidential spokesman when I had to announce the dismissal of my good friend and comrade, Hon. Solomon Musonda, MP, deputy minister of health (as he then was), for having discharged his firearm and shot a PF cadre. He argued that his life was in danger from the rival political camp and the pistol was the only protection he had. That incident abruptly ended his rising political career and as a young medical doctor.

And so, partially convinced, I applied for a gun license – after all I was entering the political arena for the first time where guns have become a necessity for safety.

Unknown to me, my uncle who is a former commissioner of police got wind of my application. Quietly, he told the police that I should only be given a license of a short-gun and not a pistol. Reasons being that I had a short temper but usually cools down within seconds. And so, he recommended, I need a gun that I cannot carry around but in the car. So much that when I am provoked, I will have to walk to the car and collect the firearm and by then I would be back to my senses!

I narrated the bureaucracy of getting a gun license to former President Rupiah Bwezani Banda. He listened attentively and asked me why I needed a gun.

I explained.

He shook his head in disapproval and talked me out of it.

“I am 79 years old and I have never owned a gun in my life. Please don’t bring problems to yourself,” he advised, citing the case of Hon. Musonda as an example.

Since physically I can still take on the brawls, I gave up on that firearm.

The voice of the old man was just too convincing.

But most interesting, gun licenses are indiscriminately issued in Zambia without doing background checks on the applicants and their tempers. I am sure we know of friends with guns but have short fuses. Even the safety of the same guns – do our police inspects where the guns are be kept before a license is issued? Remember the recent case of former Defence minister George Welo Mpombo whose gun was used in a murder by his son?

For me, I was saved by uncle and police Commissioner who warned that I shouldn’t carry a pistol – based of his assessment of my character as known to him for years.

So, friends, think twice if you really need that gun!

16 COMMENTS

  1. Great article Dickson and thanks! I am reminded of Simon Peter in the Bible who thought he could defend his master with his sword by chopping the ear of a Roman soldier. There was no point and he soon realized why. Those that live by the sword will perish thereby! Christians should always emulate the example of Jesus. He carried no weapons around. It is quite worrying how armed our leaders and citizens have become. Are we all living in fear now? Most of our fears actually never come true! Where there is fear, there is no faith. Have we become a faithless and adulterous generation who think their salvation is in guns? Proliferation of gun ownership only heightens homophobia and creates a gun culture where people think problem solving is best done through the barrel of a gun. Government…

    • Good words Dickson. Moreover, Leaders should not take politics as a reason to get guns. This is a trend that has become so common in the PF tenure. It should be discouraged and the Police should be serious on this matter, as it’s not part of the Zambian values.

    • Two things here corruption means anyone with money can get a licence and politicians are giving thier cadres gun licences most of whom are mere crooks.
      Forget politics for a moment there are so many criminals in zambia!
      As for me l will get one to protect myself and mine! You break into my house armed with a gun?
      I will shoot you first!
      And once I know you are dead I will politely ask you why you used the window and not the door
      why you came holding a gun and not a bottle of whisky
      why you scared the hell out of us by coming unannounced and not phoning is instead say you were coming
      BUT! There is no excuse for people who shoot thier Spouses, Guards or love rivals!

    • heish! good reminder cos mine was confiscated by the police just weeks after acquiring it.
      reason? “the officer who processed my application papers did not fully know me and myself”.
      so said the OIC.
      i now thank him for protecting me from myself cos i have a nasty temper and with the brawls that i have had their after, am sure i would have used that weapon of destruction in one of them and still shunder as where would i have ended…..

  2. Government must listen and start reviewing laws governing gun ownership before it is too late.

    • Kikkikiki Dickson Jere can throw fists? Matero boys!!!
      Anyway, he is kaponya but his writing is usually interesting.
      But who supply guns to these abena Kamba and Kaiser’s? Arrest those companies first.

  3. The civilised world would in all honesty and sincerity only allow guns in the military, we don’t need guns. Eve police should not move with guns unless there is armed criminal sought for. A sane human government would give an order to gun owners to surrender them and one should be allowed to trade in arms. If a criminal attacks with a gun .the police must take arms and let that criminal fall down dead. Lives will be safe. Burn gun!

  4. Fantastic article by a fellow patriot. Look at the USA for example, they have nearly 400 million guns in the hands of private citizens. But they have a strong and well-resourced police to fight crime. It is enshrined in their constitution that Americans have a right to possess arms. But for Zambia, it is suicidal and unjustified to be dishing out gun licenses like confetti. 60% of Zambia’s population lives in urban areas which have now become havens of armed and violent crime. Could this be the reason people are now acquiring arms; to defend their property? Zambia needs an honest discussion debate about the safety of its citizens vis-a-vis the issuance of gun licenses. Someone with a history of mental illness should not have a gun.

    • Are you serious? USA have the worst record when it comes to crime invoving Guns. Almost everyday someone is being shot in USA.The best thing is don’t get one and you are safe. It is better to slap someone when you are annoyed than killing.

  5. Good article. But I am sure you are not allowed to carry a shot gun or rifle in your car. Even when you have a licence for a gun you still need approval for carrying a weapon.

    Most licences do not allow conceal and carry. And definately not for a shot gun or rifle unless you are going hunting.

  6. Dickson comes out as a very capable and sober communicator (not in relation to alcohol and hard drugs as am not privy to his take on that.). Brief and precise and one can draw so many lessons reading in between the lines.

    Why was he so aloof and confrontational when he served at state house?

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