By Given Mutinta
It makes a disgraceful reading that the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema (HH) escaped an attack by Patriotic Front (PF) thugs by a hair’s breadth. Sadly, his colleagues Edward Mumbi and William Banda were thumped during the requiem mass for Betty Kaunda at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka.
As Zambians, we should feel ashamed that such an ugly incident took place at a funeral mass more so against individuals who went to mourn Betty Kaunda.
This incident is appalling and shocking. It is not the first time PF thugs have attacked HH and UPND officials because they disagree with the PF opinion being voiced. We should be concerned lest such unruly, recalcitrant and obstreperous behaviour takes root in our political culture!
In ‘healthy’ societies, funerals are solemn events when people put aside their differences and unite to mourn their beloved. The PF thuggery has displayed the highest level of hypocrisy by mocking the Kaunda family that they have declared a national mourning in honour of Betty Kaunda, yet engaged in clandestine tactics to marshal thugs to attack mourners.
Holding political views that are different is part and parcel of democratic politics. PF may disagree with HH’s views but to harass him and his officials goes against the democratic principles that founded this country.
We need to show common courtesy towards all people irrespective of their political associations and respect for the rule of law. Political thuggery violates the very principles this country stands for!
President Michael Sata must take a stand by denouncing such senseless violence. Where were the law enforcement agents when UPND leaders were attacked? Why were they not able to detect and arrest the trouble shooters? Is this how far we have become compromised?
The ugly head of political thuggery should be condemned wherever it appears. The PF government should take stern action against those thugs that attacked innocent citizens. Political thuggery should not become part of our political process!
Our country should not revert to despotic politics where politics is ‘a do or die affair’. The manner in which Mumbi and Banda were attacked justifies the above assertion.
We should stop the PF’s outdated gun boat political tactics. Innocent lives will be lost if these thugs are not curbed now! This prompts one to ask, who sent these thugs and for what purposes?
Undeniably they were sent by their leaders to subdue HH who is causing ‘political insomnia’ in their lives. And this goes on to reveal the calibre of PF politicians. They have no clue of what politics is, neither do they have good intentions for the country. If they did, they would have not turned our country into a ‘war zone’ with their thuggery behaviour.
Otherwise, how could a sane person hire thugs to engineer violence at a funeral service, and on church grounds?
The PF thuggery clearly shows that the main problem our country is facing revolves around bad leadership.
The most appalling aspect of this poor leadership is the way youths are hired out to be used as thugs by these ignominious politicians in exchange for peanuts.
Under PF leadership youths have become the ‘live-wire’ of our country and we must be prepared for shocking incidences. Honestly, what future has our country whose leaders and youths are thugs?
It is unarguable, that our country will be nothing but a home of ‘gladiators’ in ‘Hobbessian’ state of nature. Mobocracy, mayhem, lawlessness and anarchy have become the order of the day, and peace and development will be unachievable imaginings.
PF thugs have potential of fueling anarchy if innocent citizens decide to defend themselves. Dastardly acts of violence and political thuggery must be condemned and stopped at all costs as they are hostile to democratic tenets and good governance.
In all conscience, why should PF youths ransom their lives for the lives of leaders with no clear national vision to empower them? Are we still in the dark of the intentions behind the games these PF impish politicians are playing?
These quack politicians have youths in their various homes as their children but are not using them as thugs. Instead, their children are in the United States of America, Britain, China, Russia, Japan, India, France, Germany, Brazil, and other powerful countries to acquire better education and to enjoy better living.
The ambition of the current bogus government leaders is to ruin the future of our country so that young people can continue to depend on their outdated leadership.
In the dictionary of PF politicians youths are nothing but poor and frustrated people to be used as thugs. We must say no to their primitive thinking and manipulations.
Common sense is sufficient to enlighten PF youths that these politicians smiling in the government office posters do not mean well for our country in general. Let us refuse to be used for ‘chickenfeed’.
Political tolerance is the true test of refined and mature political leaders. Politicians who employ thugs have nothing to offer except poverty, violence and destruction. Let us resist these ‘devils’ to ensure that they do not stay in power through political thuggery.
Youths should exercise their wisdom. They are too noble to be used for ignoble purposes. Know yourselves if what you are worth for is to be respected.
HH and UPND officials should know that with PF they are dealing with thugs, brutes, hooligans, ruffians and goons that have no regard for the rule of law. As a result, politics will manifest in acrimony, assault, intimidation, harassment and other appalling evils.
HH should be aware that PF is ‘empowering’ thugs to harass, intimidate and victimize him and opposing views against their political ambition. This trend is not a phenomenon of recency; thuggery, callousness, brutality and political violence make up the heart for the PF leadership.
Nonetheless, the political tide is changing fast in favour of HH. Many well-intentioned men and women have already put their hopes on HH’s shoulders. He is down-to-earth and unadulterated hope for this country.
This makes him the chief enemy of the sitting government. Verbally, his political adversaries are ‘black artists’ denying that he is not a ‘political factor’ but are spending sleepless nights scheming for his downfall.
If truth be told, HH needs bodyguards who have undergone special training in the situations arising around politicians. He needs the best imaginable protection against his political opponents.
UPND should provide HH with good bodyguard detail that will stay alert at all times to ensure family protection at home and while traveling, in high-risk zones and on-site security.
Let us fight for political tolerance. It is the only way the PF regime will extend basic rights and civil liberties to individuals and groups whose viewpoints differ from its own.
Political tolerance is a fundamental tenet of a liberal democracy. Without protections for the free expression of divergent opinions, we risk a tyranny of Sata’s regime.
Let us demand a free and open society, where public thoughts will uncover ‘bad’ ideas instead of crushing them.