It is gratifying that the new executive of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has taken a very clear and unequivocal position on political violence that has rocked the country in the two and half years.
There was a genuine worry that the new LAZ would compromise and allow deliberate abrogation of the constitution and indelible rights of the Zambians to be trampled upon.
Statements that LAZ has been misguiding the nation have caused considerable anxiety as most decisions are collective and not determined by the individual, most of all the president of the association.
An attack on LAZ is therefore an attack on the entire legal fraternity which usually come together to denounce and condemn political violence that has been perpetrated by Patriotic Front (PF) cadres who have been rampaging and attacking citizens at will while the police looked on.
Those stalking violence are not only undermining the rule of law but are in fact opening themselves to grave danger in the event of a change of government.
A good lesson can be learnt from Ivory Coast where that country’s then president Laurent Gbagbo enjoyed the support of unruly youths who caused mayhem, slaughter and absolute anarchy because state machinery could not challenge them.
They were above the law and not answerable to any authority but however, with the change of government in that country, some of the ring leaders have found themselves at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
The former president himself and his wife are equally indicted. This shows that impunity can be sustained but for a short period while those in power still enjoy executive authority.
But like in all political spheres, power is femoral, transient and short lived as well as delusional because reality often catches up with an unexpected vengeance.
This is the point that Fr Charles Chilinda of St Ignatius Church made in his homily during Easter prayers.
Speaking before first republican president Kenneth Kaunda, fourth republican president Rupiah Banda, President Michael Sata and the opposition political parties that included Edith Nawakwi of FDD, Nevers Mumba of MMD and Mike Mulongoti of People’s Party, Fr Chilinda said all presidents would become civilians subject to the caprice and practices that they will recreate while in office.
It therefore beholds those in leadership to create a democratic environment tolerant of diversity but opposed to impunity and abuse of authority.
In the absence of good laws and more importantly adherence to the rule of law, anarchy will not only prevail but affect the leaders.
It is therefore important that the government is constantly reminded by such institutions such as LAZ that leaders are there to serve the people and not the other way round.
Leaders must excel in humility in order to set precedence that would be exemplary and immortalize them even after they have left office.
The failure to create a peaceful environment will not only result in anarchy but will haunt the perpetrators of violence as those they victimize will seek to revenge.
As a result, a cycle of violence and retribution will be created frustrating efforts from vital national issues.
Africa has too many failed states and Zambia should not set itself for this standard.