POLITICAL violence is on the rise because political party leaders have continued allowing their cadres to put on military berets and overalls, opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) spokesperson Antonio Mwanza has said.
Mr Mwanza said what was more worrying was that instead of dealing with the root causes of political violence, the nation was being fed on a “discourse of finger pointing and hopelessness”.
He said if Zambians do not address the root causes of political violence, then they should brace for civil strife.
Mr Mwanza said the root causes of political violence were well known and straight forward.
“The causes include high prevailing levels of poverty and youth unemployment, ignorance among many youths and hatred and intolerance created by politicians who feed on tribalism, nepotism, intimidation and corruption to perpetuate themselves in office,” he said.
Mr Mwanza added the failure by the police to arrest and prosecute perpetrators and sponsors of violence was also promoting political violence.
He said political violence was organised and sponsored by known senior politicians using known common thugs.
Mr Mwanza said the police have been rendered useless as the cadres have become more powerful since they work under the instructions and protection of those in high leadership positions.
He said all cadres that had been going out on the streets beating people and destroying property were known.
Mr Mwanza said the police service itself had been infiltrated and was now operating as an extension of some vigilante wing.
“And as long as political violence remain unpunished it will only get worse. With the prevailing high levels of poverty and youth destitution, political violence has become a source of income,” he said.
Mr Mwanza said the police and the courts have a greater role to play in order to end political violence.
“We have to fight the root cause of this violence, which is poverty, unemployment, destitution, ignorance, hatred and political immaturity,” he said.