The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) is disheartened and regrets the acts of violence witnessed on commemorating Youth Day between suspected cadres belonging to the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and officers from the Zambia Police Service (ZPS).
In a statement, SACCORD, Executive Director Boniface Cheembe says it is extremely concerned with what appears to be an increasing culture of disrespect and intolerance on the mandates of stakeholders in the governance process of the country.
“One may not always agree with the ZPS, however, it is disturbing to see citizens or cadres beat up ZPS officers and thereby send a wrong message to the public that when in disagreement with law enforcement officers it is okay to exchange punches,” he said.
He added that the usage of violence through physical force for anyone stakeholder to get what they want does not help Zambia’s democracy or peace in any way as the results tend to be injury and harm to people.
“This is evidenced by the injury to both the police officers and suspected UPND cadres which results in trauma on their part.”
He has since appealed to political party leaders in the country to prevail over their cadres to desist from engaging in acts of violence and to ensure that they respect the mandate of all stakeholders in the governance process of the country.
“We hope that the disturbing scenes witnessed on the Copperbelt will not repeat themselves as the nation builds momentum towards the 2021 general elections. We also appeal to the ZPS and opposition political parties to dialogue and address any misunderstandings peacefully as conflicts can become violent conflicts when there are not enough platforms for dialogue and disagreement.”