Here is how to end political violence (part II)

By  Observer

It is not political violence when Bwalya hits Banda with a stone using a catapult commonly known as malegeni.

In fact, the act could be taken as a mere tribal cousinship mockery between the northerners and the easterners especially if Bwalya claim to have mistaken Banda for a monkey before he unleashed the sling.

But if it is established that the two belonged to different political parties and that Bwalya had intended to intimidate and force Banda to vote for his (Bwalya’s) party candidate on August 11, then this can certainly constitute political violence.

You will recall that I tackled this topic last week and I am continuing with it this week because of its seriousness. The vice of political violence borders on human life and death.

For, if indeed it was not a grave matter, then I do not see any reason for our political party leaders meeting to plot its death in the House

of Higher Worship – the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka.

As stated last week, it is the responsibility of every well-meaning citizen to come forward and offer solutions to this political cancer.

Therefore, in addition to my suggestion last week for the re-introduction of joint campaign rallies for presidential, parliamentary, mayoral and councillorship candidates like was the case during the one-party democracy, I propose other solutions.

My sharp observation is that political violence is to some extent due to some families still clinging to the one-party system of governing their homesteads despite Zambia itself shedding it off scarcely 26 years ago.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda is regarded as the architect of the one-party political system in Zambia but his family is now the most multi-party while most families are still mono-party minded.

You see, in the very first former first family, Col. Panji is a Patriotic Front member but his younger sibling, Tilyenji is not only a member of the opposition United National Independence Party (UNIP) but is its president as well.

These two siblings do not punch each other because they belong to different political parties. Instead, they tolerate each other and live in harmony.

So, would you expect these brothers to go out there and catapult people belonging to other political parties? The answer is certainly negative.

We need to emulate the KK family and allow multi-party politics into our households.

By the way, I wish Dr Kenneth Kaunda a happy birthday and congratulations on your turning 92 years old!

I have also observed that inter-tribal marriages have worked very well in ending (or is it lessening?) tribal tiffs in Zambia.

Similarly, this strategy can be used to prevent and quell political fights. To this effect I submit that political party leaders should encourage their members look for life partners in other political parties.

A sociologist once said that the family is the “most basic institution within any society because it is within a family that citizens are born, sheltered and begin their socialisation”.

“Families influence the wider societies in which they exist. Violent societal-level conflict affects societies at all levels especially at the most basic: the family.”

So, when family members belong to different political parties and tolerate each other in a household, what would prompt them to harm others belonging to other political parties?

Once inter-party marriages are established, political parties where partners would belong to could in turn transform into in-law parties with all their members becoming in-laws.

Who then would dare cause grievous bodily harm to an in-law?

Inter-party social gathering is another tool against this political vice.

Zambians generally like social partying and we should take advantage of this lust for good time to fight political violence.

Again, I suggest that social parties should be attended by members of all political parties every weekend where fresh fish, T-bone, sausages and goat meat would be roasted and chewed, drowned by well chilled booze.

Only musicians playing live gigs should be allowed to provide music at thee parties. This is so because trouble can break loose when the cadres discover that they are being cheated by bubble gum musicians singing computer mediated songs.

I know of a prominent musician who was pelted with all sorts of missiles from the stage by revellers who shouted in Tonga that “Tuyanda furu band” meaning “we want to see a full band of musicians playing there”.

Apparently, the revellers were angered at listening to different kinds of musical instruments backing the vocals of the singer who was playing live music. But the people could not see the people hitting the drum, strumming the guitars, blowing the flute and saxophone or tapping at the piano.

So I would not want to see this incident to recur.

Back to the topic, I fail to understand how sport as a powerful weapon against these political encounters skipped the big minds of our political leaders who met in the House of Higher Worship on March 29.

There is no mention of sport in their communiqué issued after the meeting and yet sport is a powerful unifying factor in any society.

To this effect, I propose that inter-party sports festivals be held in districts.

Various political party members should be interacting amongst themselves by enjoying playing football, athletics, boxing, swimming, basketball, lawn, netball, lawn and table tennis and of course darts and pool, to mention a few.

The onus is now on the shoulders of sports administrators to set aside their feuds and stage inter-party sports tournaments all over Zambia.

When implemented, these remedial measures can drastically lessen or halt completely politically motivated violence in our townships.

Let us not wait until another life is lost before implementing the suggestions.

But should they fail to yield positive results, I suggest that political clashes be normalised as a solution also.

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