THE phenomenon of political party youths wearing military fatigue in the name of protecting their party leaders should immediately be banned because such dressing has become a symbol of violence and an act of intimidating the electorate and the general citizenry, governance activist Stanley Mhango has said.
He said allowing youth wings of political parties to dress in replica military fatigue was not only an act of lawlessness but had the potential to promote criminality as some people would easily use the military uniform to commit crimes.
Mr Mhango said some political parties had continued supplying their party cadres with military fatigue despite President Edgar Lungu having banned Patriotic Front (PF) youths from wearing military attire.
He said the security personnel that included the Zambia Police, Zambia Army and the Zambia Air Force were the only group allowed to wear military uniform because they had the mandate to provide internal and external security of the country.
He said in an interview that it had become a trend for political party cadres to be dressed like military personnel; an act he said should never be allowed in a country that believes in law and order.
Mr Mhango said whereas it was acceptable for political party cadres to provide security for their leaders, it was wrong for such people to use military gear which by law was only meant to be used by State security personnel.
He said it was the mandate of State police and other security wings to provide security and protect all citizens including leaders of the opposition political parties and not party cadres most of whom were hooligans and thugs.
Mr Mhango said President Lungu should be commended for having banned PF youths from wearing military fatigue but was disappointed that some opposition political parties had continued to encourage their youths to be dressed in military attire.
“The phenomenon of political party youth wings dressing in military fatigue under the guise of providing security to their party leaders is unacceptable in a democracy. I believe that only State security wings are allowed to wear military uniform because they are professionally trained to maintain law and order as well as police political campaigns. In as much as political parties should have their own security personnel, they should not be allowed to be dressed in military uniform because that intimidates the electorate and can easily encourage criminal activities,” Mr Mhango said.
He said it had been observed in the recent past that by allowing political party youths to be dressed in military fatigue, an impression had been created that State police had failed to carry out their mandate of maintaining law and order.
Mr Mhango explained that if political parties were not going to be stopped to ban their cadres from wearing military fatigue, the electoral process could easily be compromised and the general elections would not be free and fair. “I wish to appeal to political parties to immediately ban their youth wings from using military fatigue in the interest of peace, unity and the security of the nation. It would also be in the spirit of having a peaceful electoral process to stop political party cadres from using military fatigue,” he said.