IT DEFIES logic that a newspaper worth its name can agitate for violence, perhaps with the hope that it will feed on the chaos that follows and get away with murder.
The spurious call by one newspaper that opposition parties should incite their members to wage war against the ruling party because of the isolated incidents of political violence in our country should not be ignored by law enforcement wings.
The call by the newspaper that, ‘‘Times has come for the opposition to answer PF violence with violence’’ is what has encouraged UPND cadres to go on rampage in Choma yesterday when UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema arrived there.
Twenty-one cadres were arrested in running battles with the police in gratuitous violence organized by the opposition party. They blocked the Lusaka-Livingstone road, attacked innocent motorists and stoned the police who tried to intervene.
One wonders if this had been an inter-party confrontation what would have happened. Obviously blood would be flowing. And this is what some newspapers are calling for. If inciting violence is not a crime, then what is it?
While it is true that there have been several incidents of cadre-related harassment of political opponents by both the Patriotic Front and the UPND, it is wrong to paint the picture that all hell has broken loose in Zambia.
If PF cadres are violent and have no regard for the police or authorities, how can one describe the behaviour and audacity of UPND cadres in Choma last week who marched brazenly in broad day light and attempted to disrupt a meeting being addressed by President Edgar Lungu?
Where in Africa can a group of opposition cadres dare to block roads being used by the presidential motorcade and actually interrupt a meeting being addressed by the head of state – and live to brag about it the following day?
UPND cadres in Muoyo Royal Village, during the visit of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, stormed the house of Vice President Inonge Wina, beating up her young relatives, breaking windows and threatening to kill her sister if she had been home.
In both these incidents the two leaders simply condemned the perpetrators and advised them to respect the divergent views of others. If it had been in other countries those Choma thugs would be nursing gunshot wounds, if not worse. In the case of Mrs Wina, Mr Hichilema would have been behind bars accused of having ordered his cadres to attack the Vice President’s home.
What is remarkable about our country and perhaps PF in particular is that ruling party cadres did not run amok, beating up all those suspected to be opposition members in support of their leaders just to prove that ‘‘boma ni boma’‘. Is this the conduct of a party ‘‘firmly anchored on violence’’? We disagree.
There are indeed mild traces of cadre violence which definitely need to be nipped in the bud, but it is wrong for a newspaper to call on Zambians to fight each other, maim each other, just because they want to benefit from the chaos and mayhem that will follow and escape punishment for their past unforgivable deeds.
These unprincipled jackals of impunity want Zambia to descend into the abyss of civil strife because they have nothing to lose. To them Zambia is only Zambia when they are eating and dining with the powers-that-be whom they can manipulate by using falsehoods, outright lies and scheming to undermine their perceived enemies.
They are financial and political scavengers who feed on the rotting carcasses of political manipulation and mischief. Zambians should ignore them completely for they are irrelevant to the country’s newly discovered democratic dispensation.