The signing of the Peace Pact came about after meetings held both at the UPND and PF secretariats in Lusaka attended by high level leaderships of two political parties. We recall that the two delegations had senior officials like PF national youth chairman Stephen Kampyongo (who is also Minister of Home Affairs) and the UPND’s Likando Mufalali, the party’s national youth chairman.
The announcement of this Peace Pact was welcomed and celebrated by not only the two parties but other stakeholders as well in the political and social space based on the fact that these parties have been on each other’s throats for far too long. Therefore, this announcement brought about a sigh of relief that for the first time in many years, the political scene will be free of violence because by signing of the Peace Pact, that meant the UPND and PF had agreed to peacefully carry on their party activities without turning on each other, regardless of situations.
But slightly a year later, the situation is totally different! The two parties are at it again, fighting, causing injuries and to extreme instances, killing each other. The Zambia Police Service has even acknowledged in its recent statement about political violence that the UPND and PF cadres are both perpetrators of violence; they are both at the centre of the ugly scenes of political violence this country has witnessed.
But while this may true, a quick question we will pose to both parties is: what happened to the Peace Pact signed just last year? This is a big question and challenge that the cadres of these two political parties must critically look at and consider a turning point.
The truth is that leaders of these two political parties mingle, drink beer, eat and share jokes whenever they meet. You would never even think they come from political parties whose cadres seem to be sworn enemies. Look at Parliament! Do the cadres take time to see how Gary Nkombo, Stephen Kamyongo, Ronald Chitotela, Ephraim Belemu, Princess Kasune, Alexander Chiteme, Vincent Mwale, Dora Siliya, Moses Mawere, Edgar Sing’ombe, Cornelius Mweetwa, Situmbeko Musokotwane, Mwilola Imakando, Mathews Jere, Stanley Kakubo, Christopher Kalila, Brian Kambita, Harry Kamboni, Elliot Kamondo, Romeo Kang’ombe, Sensio Banda, Chilombo Chali, Kampamba Mulenga-Chewe, Jean Kapata, Bowman Lusambo, etc. Wherever these members of parliament are after their heated debates in Parliament, all you will hear are loud laughs and endless jokes – nothing will ever give you a hint that they come from political parties whose cadres are always at odds.
The UPND and PF must from here on go back to that Peace Pact, look at the details contained therein and see what immediate action can be taken to live by the commitments made in July, 2018. They must, in fact, as a matter of urgency, go back to the drawing board and ask themselves what it is that has not been done for political violence to continue in this matter. What is worrying is that President Edgar Lungu has on many occasions advised against violence and told these youths to restrain themselves even when provoked. From the other side, it is difficult to point to a message that has told the cadres to stay away from violence. Well, the point is: get back to that Peace Pact and stop this violence!