UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) presidential assistant, Douglas Syakalima, is wrong to justify the Bweengwa violence by UPND cadres, Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) president Wright Musoma has charged.
Commenting on the violence that characterised President Edgar Lungu’s tour of Southern Province at the weekend, Mr. Musoma said the UPND was led by people who did not have any moral obligation towards the future of Zambia, adding that Mr. Syakalima’s defence of UPND cadres who abducted Government officials was most unfortunate.
He said Mr. Syakalima should be ashamed of himself for condoning violence by defending the unruly cadres without realising that such isolated incidents of violence could degenerate into national civil unrest.
Mr Musoma said UPND leaders should know that violence did not win an election, saying the scourge was a drawback to democracy the country had enjoyed since independence. He said it was folly for Mr Syakalima to celebrate the Bweengwa violence where a group of villagers suspected to be UPND supporters blocked the Bweengwa-Monze road with logs and ambushed the people returning from President Lungu’s rally, smashing vehicles, injuring several people and held some of the Government officials hostage including the police.
Mr Musoma said the incident was sending a bad signal that the opposition party has no regard for the Head of State because that was not the first time President Lungu’s convoy was attacked by suspected UPND cadres in Southern province.
“What is happening in Southern Province is unacceptable and total nonsense. We cannot have a situation where some political failures like Mr. Syakalima should be celebrating violence by the UPND cadres instead of condemning it.
‘‘These people even have the guts to attack a presidential convoy; what message as they sending to the rest of the country? That some parts of the country are no-go areas for the President?
“Mr. Syakalima must be ashamed of himself for defending violence. This country is at a very critical point where these acts of violence can lead to widespread unrest as we get closer to the elections. Unfortunately, UPND think that they can win an election using violence and this is a foolish way of looking at things.
‘‘This country is bigger than any single party and Zambians are not interested in violence but issue-based campaigns ahead of the elections,” Mr. Musoma said.
He called on the police to deal with the UPND cadres sternly because they had openly shown that they were violent and were looking for ways of dividing the country with the hope of preventing other political parties from campaigning in the area.
“Our appeal to the Inspector General of Police is that UPND cadres should be dealt with sternly so that this nonsense can come to an end. All those who were involved in the violence in Southern Province should be arrested and charged because we cannot afford to create problems which we will not manage to address as a country.
“Those who think that they can use violence to win an election should be met with the same force from the police because we want law and order to prevail in this country as we go to the polls,” he said.