What started off as whispered speculation, regarding the emergence of a political militia, has finally matured into a definitive statement by the President.
In the beginning speculation was rife that some of the more indisciplined members suspended from the Patriotic Front stationed at some of the bus stations were regularly seen patronizing some offices where arrangements were being made for them to be integrated into some form of security arrangement. This now turns out to be the militia that the President yesterday spoke about.
This is a very dangerous development which should be treated with the seriousness and gravity it deserves because any threat to national security must concern all Zambians regardless of party political affiliation.
Zambia has been a beacon of peace in this restive region which has seen conflict that has displaced millions of citizens within and outside the geographical borders of the states involved.
Zambia is indeed a host to refugees from more than eight different countries. But apart from one or two self-imposed economic refugees, Zambia has been spared the spectre of political refugees seeking asylum outside its borders.
This happy situation is a result of many factors including the determined effort of our founding fathers who worked under the slogan of “One Zambia One Nation”, which brought all citizens regardless of ethnic origin into a one united nation.
Tribalism or regionalism has until now been unknown because Zambians, regardless of ethnic or political affiliation, expressed themselves fully in the firm belief of a unity of purpose premised on equality.
Sadly of late the struggle for political power has eschewed the very tenets that united Zambians in their divergence.
For once social media is a hotbed of unbridled sectarian, ethnic and downright tribal antagonism that is both frightening, demoralizing and the cause of worry and concern because it reflects the dynamics of internal politics.
That is why the emergence of militia is a threat to peace because chances are these militia will take on the same ethnic shades that our political landscape has taken.
Most African countries have fractured not on account of sound political discourse but rather on the emotional expression of ethnic indignation.
It is very important that the church, civil society and all interest groups must take account of these developments and find a way of arresting these tendencies from maturing into a potent force and idea that drives a wedge among the Zambian people.
Most failed states on the continent have failed because men and women who could have worked to stop the rot stood back and allowed a few individuals with means and resources to direct the fate and future of these nations.
Peace is a result of painstaking effort while chaos will be driven by any mindless and selfish character.
Time has come for principled, honest and selfless politics and Zambians must work towards creating an environment in which politicians will be held to account not on narrow ethnic consideration but broader context of the national good. HH demeans African diplomats