Pastor Nevers Mumba has shocked us.
He seems to be totally oblivious or is in absolute denial of the situation in Namwala by suggesting that the entire episode is a hoax perpetrated by Government using pictures from South Africa.
This is cruel, inhuman and heartless. Playing politics with people’s lives is a very dangerous preoccupation.
The situation in Namwala is real. There are real people suffering real hardship because their lives have been destroyed, their houses have been torched and their very lives threatened by political thugs.
The Police have arrested more than 222 people on charges associated with violence, looting and related activities. Others have already appeared before the courts of law.
Both the Red Cross and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit are on the ground ministering to the needs of victims who have been displaced from their homes.
Our duty as a newspaper is to report the truth and not pander to political opportunism. It is for this reason that we reported the Namwala story in the most sensitive manner possible to avoid raising possibility of reprisal attacks outside the Province. Therefore, comparing us to Muvi television was most unfair.
At the height of the “ethnic cleansing” we toned down our reports and pictures, not wishing to inflame feelings and feed the flames of antagonism. We are a responsible newspaper conducting ourselves in the most sober and professional manner possible.
That is why it was only after the Police and National Service had taken some control of the situation that we published more pictures and this was only after there were irresponsible reports that Police were victimising innocent UPND cadres, locking them up in police cells for no good reason.
We sent our journalists to Namwala where they interviewed and took pictures of victims, some of whom are now refugees in their own country at Namwala Secondary School, others have refused to move from their torched houses preferring to rebuild.
This is a very tragic phase of our history and we do not take kindly to Pastor Mumba making light of the situation by suggesting that pictures that have been produced of Namwala are actually reproductions from South Africa.
What kind of cruelty is this?
We have an entire Principal from Kasiya College in Pemba and three members of his staff seeking refuge in Lusaka because they were hounded on tribal grounds. Only a sick mind can make up such a story.
It is one thing to do politics and another to imperil lives for the sake of politics. Every politician has a duty to serve and ensure the protection of basic rights of the people. Politics should not be gaining power at any cost. Morality and ethics must guide those who seek to serve.
We take this opportunity to remind the UPND that we did not give the party the now almost permanent appellation of a tribal party. This was done by one of the cliques they have embraced who not only coined the phrase but canvassed it to a point where it has stuck for good.
While the embrace offers cold comfort today, they must be rest assured that the time for pay back will come. The embrace will turn into a stranglehold that will choke the very life out of the party