By Laura Miti
Rwanda is commemorating 20 years since the genocide of 94, a dark 100-day period of blood spilling that seared the collective human conscience and one whose insanity we still grapple with.
As the world reflects on how Rwanda was allowed and more importantly how the like of it can be prevented from ever happening again, I think of my beloved Zambia that seems to think Rwandans and the others around us we have seen degenerate into untold violence are genetically wired to spill blood.
We don’t seem to understand that the conditions that resulted in Rwanda 94 were created and nurtured and then exploded in a way no one could control. Because we seem to think Rwanda , Congo, Ivory Coast happened because, well it was them, we in Zambia have since the PF came to power sat back as a situation many of us could never have thought possible plays out in our streets.
PF cadres have, with impunity, taken to running through our streets armed with pangas and engaging in open battles in support of whatever faction happens to have paid them on the day. A culture of political violence seems to be taking root as the police stand by and watch and citizens fail to categorically demand action.
Why? Why do we think we can allow politically motivated bloody battles and not pay a terrible price? Because we are special maybe? Or is it that peace is our heritage, and written into our collective DNA? Look at it this way – after Kaunda who, all things considered, used the national purse to change the trajectory of a generation’s lives, what has it ever mattered to the majority citizens who happens to be in State House?
What does it matter to the woman selling kandolo on the road side in Chibombo or that young man at the traffic lights in Lusaka, lean as a pole from running all day, what difference does it make to them who sits in Plot 1?
The point I am trying to make is that up to now, the majority citizens of this country gathered on the periphery of the economy in un-serviced informal areas, many times flowing with untreated sewerage have been sure of one thing. It is that they, because of peace we so take for granted, can get on with their lives no matter who happens to be pretending to govern them.
They, for as long as they have health, can wake up at dawn and hustle till late so that they can go home with something to put on the table for those that depend on them. So my question is why should that peace, law and order which determines that so many can take their destiny into their own hands be sacrificed so that Sata, Hichilema or whoever can sleep in Nkhwazi House?
So that those now sitting on the PF gravy train can continue fattening themselves on our resources with not a thought for anyone other than themselves? Point is we have proved to ourselves that, because our laws and accountability structures are set out to encourage mindless misuse of resources (the recent PAC sittings televised for all of us to see refer,) we are unable to prevent administration after administration from using the treasury to fatten themselves.
We have a constitution and public finance legislation that determines that politicians don’t even have to pretend to have the national interest in the way they use resources. The PF, like all before them, are feeding at the trough like there is no tomorrow.
Should they in addition to keeping with the tradition of giving themselves freedom of the treasury also be allowed to mess with our historical ability to “make a plan” because they destroy our peace?
It is a peace that others before them, stealing though they did, at least preserved. (And yes we thank God for that not small mercy) So come on Zambia, it’s time to, once again, draw a line in the sand and tell an administration so far and no further! This time it is the inordinately anarchical PF and its penchant for violence. Enough already!