For immediate release
4 April, 2018
Today marks exactly 51 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated for championing just cause. It is also 23 days after the Roan By-Election, which was litered with gruesome violence on the day of voting. In commemorating 51 years of Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy and his doctrine of justice, we wish to condemn the assault that was inflicted on Mr. Obed Kasongo (of the National Democratic Congress Party-NDC) by suspected PF leader(s) and cadres, which subsequently led to his death, and his colleagues are still nursing their wounds.
Over three weeks now has past, yet no one has been arrested despite being reported and dockets opened. Business seems to go on as usual.
We are calling on President Lungu to show leadership by ensuring that the individuals named in the murder of Kasongo, despite their status in society are brought to book.
We are also calling members of the public, other civil society organisations, the church, political parties,and indeed all stakeholders to join hands in demanding for justice for Katongo and other victims.
The nation may recall that a few months ago, a young University Student was murdered by police, upto now, no arrests have been made. And yet several Police Officers were recently fired within a week of the charge for professional misconduct in Sesheke were ruling party cadres received minimum force from the men in uniform. By being silent, we become complicit to these injustice. When we become quiet, injustice is triumphant! Injustice is something we know, hear about and something whose consequences we are aware about yet our levels of tolerance fly in the face of reality.
Mark Twain aptly puts it this way: “The truth hurts, but silence kills.” Certainly, silence is a shadow of impending death and that is why “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (MLK Jr). A renown Theologian and Gospel Minister Rev. Martin Niemoller had been complicit through their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions of people. He later said: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists , and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist .
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me —and there was no one left to speak for me.” Like Luther rightly noted, injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere; today it is there, tomorrow it is here. We therefore cannot afford the luxury of watching injustice and absurdities being practiced regardless of the recipient.
Further, in the quest to avoid making enemies, we can’t afford to be neutral either. Quoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” If the misery of the weak be caused not by the laws of nature, but by the powerful or our institutions, great is our sin. Therefore, “rage — whether in reaction to social injustice, or to our leaders’ insanity, or to those who threaten or harm us — is a powerful energy that, with diligent practice, can be transformed into fierce compassion.”(Bonnie Myotai Treace).
They say ‘silence is golden’, perhaps because no one can misquote or misunderstand you. But staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. This is what is killing our nation. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for oneself or another’s rights. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood for. Silence is foolish if we are wise, but wise if we are foolish. Therefore, speak only if what you are going to voice out is better than being silent because. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
The Authorities must never shield the perpetrators of this evil act because laws must never be spider webs by which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught. There is no tyranny as much as that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law. The play field must always be leveled for fair play.
In 2010 a similar incident happened involving a Deputy Minister of Health at the time, Dr. Solomon Musonda, who shot at a PF cadre in the head. As usual, he first denied it and later revelations also indicated that he tried to bribed the family of the victim. Different stakeholders condemned it and called upon the PRESIDENT at the time to allow the law of enforcement agencies to carry their duties without his interference. But before he(Dr. Musonda) could even be prosecuted, the PRESIDENT fired him so that he could be investigated from an ordinary and neutral position. Later the Honorable Minister was convicted and went to Jail. Notice that PRESIDENT never waited until the Minister was proven guilty by the judicial process in order for him to take action anyhow. But here we are today, no action from investigative wings, prosecutions and indeed the appointment authority. Is this a coincidence or well calculated? Are we missing something or it’s the case of the caterpillar and the butterfly; were the caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity? I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them. The blood spilt is crying for Justice to prevail, we shall also help it crying for Justice because we are inspired by Thurgood Marshall’s voice of reason and conscience that: “Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”