We have an unsettling background of what has come to be termed as political violence. It is more than an abomination; it is detestable, it is loathsome, sinister, repulsive, unjust, criminal and representing evil empires and acts of barbarism, pregnant with impunity which no democracy can ever allow. Zambia is not for sale and is not a Casino!
I am still at a loss as to why we are ‘embracing’ violence. Here, I am not only refereeing to physical violence, such as the disgraceful act of attacking individuals like Frank Bwalya, Chilufya Tayali and many other persons who have been injured, while responding to duty. I also include violence occasioned by negativity properly exhibited by hate speech and insults that are in the public domain. If in doubt, go to SACORD or the Human Rights Commission and all will confirm that violence is distilled in the mind before manifesting. As a matter of fact, the Zambian Law forbids torture absolutely without derogation!
Equally, our Statutes make it an offense to counsel, abate, and aide in the commission of an offense thereby causing injury on another outside voluntary activities, such as sports. That is where the Police come in. In all fairness though, the police cannot foresee all challenges that may lead to violence and that is the reason in part, why the police should move in swiftly to deal with an identified and known problem. You and I, irrespective of political affiliation have a civic duty to refrain from activities that breach peace. Additionally, we have a collective civic duty to report problems such as that representing violence to police or any legal authority.
I have seen regrettable incidents of individuals challenging police officer in instances that can rightly be described as obstructing justice. I have said before and I repeat “your rights end where my rights begin”.
My view is that the Police and other security wings must “up their game” because criminals have become sophisticated. Part of the explanation as to why there is this so called political violence is that many have discovered that one of the best ways of escaping arrest after having engaged in white collar crime, is to immediately and quickly either form a political party or get active in a political party. In short, I am saying that NOBODY is and should be above the law notwithstanding any other consideration. To be opposed to a decision by government does not mean that one is above the law and no law abiding citizen should refuse to respect lawful instructions or and other such lawful and legitimate command(s).
An example in civility is the kind of treatment and accommodation that attaches to those who chose to exercise their right to free speech. The fact of defending their right to speech is not the same thing as defending surrounding suspected criminality. We all know that to libel, there are defenses, one of them being evidenced truth and not just mere claims, anchored on other considerations. Let us be positive in thinking and outlook!
A point that must not be lost is what human rights campaigners, call group rights. On another plane, one may import the aspect of morality, which in essence speaks to specific communities. An acceptable practice in Zambia may be totally unacceptable in another jurisdiction. Calling an elderly person by his or her first name in most Zambian cultures is totally unacceptable. But this is a normal practice in many other societies such that one may find himself or herself confusing cultural practices with expectations of a particular society. For instance, a practice in Zambia is to show respect towards elders and the fact that this is diminishing is not an issue; and/but if anything, a concern. On expectations, no Zambian expects that a mentally sound citizen will take to the streets to hurl “insults” at national leaders or in particular make insinuations or innuendos that in reality, insult the President. Nay, that will not do for Zambia. It may do elsewhere, where circumstances, traditions and values are different.
As I seek to promote positive vibrations away from negativity, it is my hope that when we talk of Zambia, we are all talking about the same entity. Equally when we talk of doing good things for the Zambian economy, we are talking for the same people`. It will not and cannot do; to work towards firstly attempting or working at destroying Zambia because “you” claim to have a program that will cure all challenges the country faces.
As we match towards a Smart Zambia, I want to argue that there are plenty lessons that we can borrow from many countries – near and far. Look at Iraq, look at Libya, look at the happenings in Syria and checkout some of our neighbors!
As a key starting point, and I commend all and any effort at promoting PEACE, we have no choice but sing the PEACE song as loudly as possible because it is this virtue that earned Zambia, respect in the world – even at the time when shortages, were the order of the day.
For those who are able to look back and analyze issues, you will see an unfolding pattern which is not markedly different from the end of the UNIP (United National Independence Party) era, when one system was kicked out and replaced by some other system and we are only seeing the consequences now. Similar script! The difference being that we can learn from the ills of the past.
I began this series, with reference to the disgraceful act of violence. Stop and ask yourself: What really is causing this violence? Is it just about the forth coming general and presidential elections? Could it be some other insidious phenomena as we saw on what was called “black on black” violence in South Africa in the run up to the first democratic elections in 1994? Is the grade 12 challenge contributing to the crisis?
How would we explain the fact that somebody who is a Constitutional Office Holder and flying the Zambian flag; but for political expedience; resigns his portfolio and pronounce “confidence” in another leader other than the one who has made him what he has become? Of course, in a democracy such as ours, such happenings can be explained but for the moral sting. It is difficult to explain betrayal!
As we talk good and seriously about a Smart Zambia, we should not shy away from a topic that one Media house has been on and about and that is the now famous debate on the grade 12 requirements as we know it. My take is that there is a verifiable relationship between education and development. Second, it is not correct to argue that 51 years after independence, we cannot find a grade 12 to stand for office. Just how? What may be happening is a concern around certain individuals who may not have that qualification. Yes, we can talk about the equivalent, which is a preserve of the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) pretty much in the same way that the Supreme Court practices Res Judica (finality in proceedings).
A fundamental point is that the requirement is not that anybody else demanded it, but Zambians. We are all alive to the lively debates wherein key players campaigned that the government must not change anything in the draft constitution. Members of Parliament were fully conscious of their act of legislation!
The reality that Zambia faces today, is that of priorities. If we had an election of the referendum a few months ago, would we have been able to hold another election? These are not questions which require emotional and simplistic responses. They go to the root of Zambia’s economic, social and political stability.
I am quite uncomfortable with the impunity that surrounds violence. The first Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda has been advising against the vice. The Republican President too, has in his capacity as President and Commander in Chief of all armed forces, namely the Zambia Army, The Zambia Air Force and The Zambia Police including other security wings, has spoken strongly and clearly about the importance of keeping the peace. Sadly, the violence has continued.
Could it be because our security agencies are unable to stop the scourge of violence? I have no answer but to bemoan acts of lawlessness seeking to cripple Zambia.
I hope the Police officer who was bashed and almost killed at a road block is recovering well in hospital. Here is the point. No police or security officer acts on their own volition or accord. Police exercise their power because of the authority placed on them by the State. Mr. Kakoma Kanganja is not the Inspector General of Police for either himself or his family. He is the Inspector General for the Zambia Police and is in that position because of the appointment and conferment of that order of command by the Commander in Chief, who is also Republic President. In short, the line of command flows from the Republican President, to the Inspector General of Police, Police Commissioners, right down to the police officer on the ground.
These men and women exercise State power and it is this same state power that all seek to wrestle from the Patriotic Front (PF) on the 11th August 2016 general and presidential elections. So, when you bash, shout or abuse an officer on duty for Zambia, you are in effect being disloyal to Zambia.
To this extent and only to this extent, it is incumbent upon all political leaders to follow the footsteps of President Edgar Lungu and go beyond condemning violence to stop their followers in engaging in activities which essentially undermine the sovereignty of Zambia.
Let the comments keep flowing: firstname.lastname@example.org or Ngandem12@gmail.com Mobile 0977776191 and 0955776191.