The violence of the Patriotic Front has gotten out of control, writes Fred M’meme in the Post editorial.
It is clear that for the Patriotic Front, violence is the only way of doing politics. Their political strategy seems to be firmly anchored on violence. Every political opponent has to be silenced using violence. They do not want anyone to campaign or to set themselves a political goal that disturbs theirs. But why are they being allowed to continue with this type of violence as if they have a monopoly over it? Nobody has a monopoly over violence. And moreover, the Patriotic Front is not in the majority in this country. It is a minority trying to silence the majority. But why is the majority allowing a minority to silence it?
Of course, the Patriotic Front is using the police, the intelligence and other law enforcement agencies to its advantage. Patriotic Front leaders and cadres are able to engage in violence without fear of being arrested by the police. What the Patriotic Front leaders and cadres are able to get away with in terms of lawlessness or violence, the opposition can’t get away with even a tiny fraction of it.
But we seem to have come to a time when it is clearly becoming impossible for the opposition to carry out meaningful political work without being attacked by Patriotic Front cadres. It is also clear that the opposition is quickly getting to a point where it will be impossible not to answer fire with fire. Violence begets violence.
In saying this, we are not in any way favouring violence over peaceful means. If the political rights of others could be recognised and respected by peaceful means, there would be no need for anyone to think of resorting to violence. Everybody would like to reach their political goals peacefully. But we have to be realistic. The only violence in this country that is not tolerated is that of the opposition. The only people in this country who are asked to be non-violent are those in the opposition. No one is stopping the violence of the Patriotic Front.
We refuse to go along with anyone who wants to teach the opposition non-violence until someone at the same time is preaching to the Patriotic Front to be non-violent.
We believe the opposition has the right to protect itself by any means necessary when attacked by Patriotic Front cadres.
The police has failed to protect those in the opposition and their political rights. Instead of protecting them from violent attacks and ensuring that they hold their meetings in peace, the police is aiding the Patriotic Front’s agenda by simply stopping the opposition from holding meetings.
What happened to Miles Sampa yesterday in Ndola must never be accepted. Miles had the right to be in Ndola. He also has the right to hold a meeting anywhere in this country. The police knew very well that there were some people mobilising to attack Miles. The police know very well those behind all this violence against Miles. But none of them has been arrested. They invaded the airport, chasing a plane on the apron. This is not the first time this is happening. Patriotic Front cadres, in the proximity of Vice-President Inonge Wina, tried to attack the editor of this newspaper on the airport apron in Livingstone. Inonge never condemned that attack. And because it was never condemned, the same conduct is being repeated in Ndola, threatening the lives of many passengers. What is their problem? What is eating them up? They wanted Miles out of the Patriotic Front and he has left. They want him leave without political rights that the Constitution of this country guarantees him?
Any time you live in a society that doesn’t enforce its own law because the political affiliations of those involved happens to be wrong, then there is justification for those who are not being protected by the law enforcement agencies to resort to any means necessary to bring about justice and fairness for themselves.
Patriotic Front cadres shouldn’t be allowed to intimidate, humiliate, harass and violently attack others with impunity. Every citizen of this country has the right to defend their dignity and humanity. And this includes the right to use violence in self-defence. You have every right to hit back and hit back very hard. Hit the hell out of the Patriotic Front cadres if they attack you without you provoking them. The opposition leadership have to wake the people up first, to their humanity, to their own worth. Then other things can follow.
It is unwise to let Patriotic Front cadres harass you with impunity. Intelligence demands the return of violence with violence, fire with fire, peace with peace. Every time you let someone attack you and you don’t hit back, you are not acting with intelligence and no one should be surprised to wake up one morning and find that you have been killed.
And get it right, we are not saying those in the opposition should initiate acts of violence against Patriotic Front leaders and cadres, but where the law enforcement agencies fail to protect those in the opposition from Patriotic Front’s violent attacks, they are entitled to do it for themselves. It is within their rights to fight back in self-defence. And violence must always be used only in self-defence.
Today, we have many leaders and cadres in the Patriotic Front who are nothing but cold, animalistic idiots who see nothing wrong with violence.
We will not be surprised tomorrow to be accused of promoting or agitating for violence. This is what the Patriotic Front does anyway. Every time someone shows signs of an uncompromising attitude against their violence, corruption and other injustices and shows no tendency whatever to deal or compromise with it, they try to project such people as irresponsible elements preaching hate.
They can say whatever they want to say; they can even go hang. We are justified in saying what we are saying, in talking like this. How many times are those in the opposition expected to turn the other cheek? This is not simply an exercise in condemning the Patriotic Front for the heck of it. We are simply trying to tell the truth about their unacceptable violent and intolerant conduct. And if truth condemns them, then they stand condemned.
Again, we emphasise that whenever you are attacked by Patriotic Front cadres, don’t run away; hit back and hit the shit out of them! That’s the only language they will understand. If not, they will continue harassing you, attacking you all the way to the polling station and beyond. There is need to hit back at those who want to steal your freedom, rights and dignity; those who want to steal your honour as a human being. These are thugs of base instincts and should not be given the liberty to silence all through violence. Their violent actions are becoming more and more brazen. They no longer even attempt to cover up their heinous deeds. They no longer bother in the least to conceal what they are doing. We should not mince our words about the barbaric conduct of the Patriotic Front. And it is no longer a question of just cadres. The entire leadership of the Patriotic Front, starting with Edgar Lungu himself, must stand accused and made to answer for this violence. These young thugs are violent because they are rewarded by the Patriotic Front leadership to be violent, brutish.