The violent attack on Minister of Justice Given Lubinda at Kabwata Market last week by Patriotic Front cadres made very sad reading. Mr Lubinda is also Member of Parliament for Kabwata whom the residents of the area overwhelmingly voted for.
Mr Lubinda won by a landslide with over 30,000 votes against his closest rival’s 16,000 plus votes in the 2016 parliamentary elections. To get a leader of his level beaten up by political party cadres is quite worrisome and something that nobody normal can even dare celebrate. How have we become such insensitive citizens who can even wish the worst to happen to a fellow human being? Even if people belong to different political sides, wishing another ill is the worst form of witchcraft that must not be encouraged in Zambia. And for this particular case, we must actually be afraid that we have such youths in our communities who do not know reason or the value of engagement with their leaders but only resort to violence to satisfy themselves.
It is a pity that today’s youths have turned to violence to get themselves heard. It’s such a shame! We have seen this happen across the political divide. It is not a problem of the Patriotic Front alone; this is widespread. We have previously witnessed inter-party political violence mostly involving PF and UPND cadres that are always at loggerheads for whatever reason. It has always been an issue of one party provoking the other to react angrily and sometimes the results of such animosity have been deadly. This time involving Mr Lubinda, it is intra-party violence whose source is yet to be known.
A few days before Mr Lubinda’s attack, we had political violence in Katuba where UPND cadres attacked their PF counterparts and in the process injured an officer of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) who was on the ground during the filing of nominations for the upcoming Katuba parliamentary by-election. Is it so hard to tolerate the fact that Zambia is a multi-party democracy, meaning the country can have as many political parties as possible? It is interesting that a day or so before the filing of nominations, Mazabuka UPND Member of Parliament Gary Nkombo was on radio talking about violence and threatening that his party would withdraw from the by-election should the ruling party turn violent during campaigns. But which party is said to have started violence on nomination day? Will the UPND opt out for being part of that political violence?
Zambian politicians of today must all take a moment and commit to ending political violence which will one day shock the entire nation if nothing is done to stop this rot in politics. When will our politicians learn from their colleagues in developed countries on how to do politics without involving the youths in violent acts? When will the opposition political parties of this country, which are governments in waiting, learn to co-exist with the ruling party than perpetually harbouring hate and anger over previous disagreements? The source of these violent acts are usually old disputes that one party decided to hang on to, leaving grudge after grudge to pile up and build into huge fury that can even set the entire nation ablaze. Zambians, political violence is deadly and please, do not tolerate it