By Sean Tembo
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) we wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible the destruction to property and assault on innocent citizens that was caused by the UPND Alliance members and supporters as they conducted their roadshow in Mandevu Constituency yesterday afternoon.
2. It has now become evident to us that the UPND are not always the victims of political violence as they seek to portray themselves, but are often the aggressors. Yesterday’s assault of innocent citizens and destruction of property by the UPND in Mandevu Constituency follows hot on the heels of the alleged serious assault of three people in Ndola by the UPND presidential convoy that toured the Copperbelt over the weekend, of which one of the victims has since died.
3. As Patriots for Economic Progress we wish to challenge the UPND leadership, as we hereby do, to state clearly whether their current pattern of violence, destruction and murder is part of their wider election campaign strategy or whether it is merely due to the party’s failure to adequately police its supporters during political events.
4. If the current pattern of UPND violence, destruction, and murder is part of the party’s wider campaign strategy, then we wish to call upon the UPND leadership to reconsider. There is no question that the majority of Zambian citizens cherish their peace and security and they are definitely unwilling to sacrifice it for anything. Not even the unbridled political ambitions of a single citizen who wants to go to State House at any cost, even if that cost means death and destruction.
5. If on the other hand the current pattern of UPND violence, destruction, and murder is due to the party’s failure to adequately police its supporters during political events thereby resulting in some unsavory characters among the supporters, engaging in criminal activities that are not sanctioned by the party leadership, then the party leadership needs to up their game and ensure that they appoint an adequate number of marshals to police all their political events.
6. As a main opposition political party that is aspiring to lead this nation after 12th August, the UPND has a moral duty and obligation to lead by example. Otherwise, they risk being totally rejected by the Zambian people at the ballot. There is no question that the electorate would never desire to entrust the governance of this nation into the hands of a bunch of hooligans and barbarians who have no regard for human life or property. The onus is on the UPND leadership to prove to the people of Zambia that the unfortunate incidents of violence, destruction and murder that have characterized their political activities in the past few days do not define their political party.