By Kapya Kaoma.
Am I the only one tired of Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Mwila’s howls of PF’s “commitment to violent free campaigns”? Like starved lions, PF cadres are prowling streets seeking for more and more blood from innocent people as Lungu warbles peace, while Mwila gambols to violence. When Lungu shouts pabwato, Mwila and his pinions pick up paddles to lynch those who reject the invitation to enter the PF blood-painted boat.
President Lungu’s failure to instill the fear of the law in his cadres is villainous and even criminal. It is his constitutional duty to defend the rights of every citizen regardless of party affiliation. Sadly he has knowingly sanctioned the ongoing violence. For example, what did the PF leadership do to the cadres who chased the UPND lady, undressed, and beat her in broad daylight? What did they do to those who beat people in Chawama or petrol bombed innocent people simply for belonging to UPND? No one should be treated less than an animal for supporting HH; we are a democracy and we have the right to campaign for any candidate of choice. Just as PF cadres are proud to wear the Lungu T-shirts, UPND cadres should wear the HH T-shirts with pride. This is the beauty of democracy.
It is deplorable to trololo “peaceful campaigns” while watching PF cadres wreck havoc on fellow Zambians. For so long, the PF cadres have been made to believe they are above the law since putting on PF attire makes them immune from prosecution. And they are right. It is one thing for the Election Commission to suspend Kambwili for hate speech, it is another to arrest those who are terrorizing fellow citizens for exercising their democratic rights. The reason the PF thugs terrorize our streets is because they are shielded by Plot 1–they are untouchables.
Is it not time the Election Commission disqualified violent Parties from contesting elections? Is it not time the nullifying of Parliamentary results extended to Presidential results? The petitioning of Parliamentary elections in courts, for example, has been celebrated as a way of ensuring fair and peaceful elections. We have had many elections overturned by courts as a result. But what defies logic is that the Presidential election results remain intact. In view of the 50+1 requirement, commonsense demands that once Parliamentary results are declared not free and fair, Presidential results should also be declared not free and fair. So why disqualify Parliamentary results, but not the Presidential results? Until we demand that once Parliamentary results are nullified, Presidential results too shall be disqualified, shedding of blood will remain the main passport to Plot 1.
I don’t want to white wash UPND; it is another violent Party too. Its cadres have not been tolerant of the PF members in UPND strongholds. In fact, people who support the PF are targeted and some have been undressed. But HH is not the President–President Lungu is and must set the tone. If anything HH cadres are generally arrested, while the PF cadres are left to roam our streets with pride like children of Ares, the Greek god of war. PF cadres exploit this legal blindness by the judiciary, and all law enforcement agencies. Even when evidence against the PF cadres exists, the blind police officers will be investigating the issue forever and ever. If opposition cadres foolishly attempt to match this violence, the big man will see to it that perpetrators are not only beaten up, but also rot in jail.
Let the truth be said–the Election Commission won’t sanction the PF for violence, neither would courts nullify presidential results because of violence. Besides, politicians won’t commit to peaceful campaigns until they are punished by voters. Sadly our tribal political system rewards violent politicians. Under no circumstances will Lungu be penalized for the innocent blood his followers will shed to keep him in Plot 1. Mwila will smile as much when he watches UPND cadres undressed; in fact he would love to see more of it. Decency does not have a home in Zambian politics anymore–we have lost ubuntu.
Yet the big man is not God. Neither is the plight of the oppressed hidden from God nor are the tears of every Zambian whose rights are abused for exercising his or her democratic rights. Nothing lasts forever, and even the powerful fall. If they don’t, God has ways to make us pay for the injustices we inflict on others. I pray the victims of political violence won’t give up their fight for what they believe in; it is within their rights to do so. Their tears and shame are on behalf of the nation we all love. We may vote for different candidates, but we all love this blessed nation. When they get out of their homes, let them keep their heads up; they are our heroes!