I feel duty bound to speak out on the issue of the increasing violence levels and incidents in Zambia. The levels of intolerance, politically motivated violence, power hungriness, opportunism and self-centeredness currently being exhibited by some Zambians are frightening and a sure recipe for turmoil in our country. This situation is unprecedented in the whole history of our country. It pains me a lot to see the land of my ancestors (the Zambezi river is even named after one of my ancestors, Lyambai, from Vamwene Mbai) groaning under so much strife, despondency, lawlessness and fear among its citizens. Hence my earnest appeal to the PF government to stop this unnecessary violence which is taking away the lives of our brothers and sisters at frightening frequency with the passing of each day. It is the duty of the government to safeguard the peace and security of ALL its citizens regardless of party affiliations and protect the multiparty democracy our country has enjoyed for the last 22 years. The silence being exhibited by the president over these happenings and atrocities is not reassuring at all, both to citizens and potential investors. The president’s voice over any issue is always more powerful than the voices of individual ministers who have expressed half-hearted misgivings about this violence.
Its obvious that ‘violence begets violence’ and no peace can be born out of violence, hence violence cannot be used as a tool to bring about peace. A vicious cycle of violence creating more and more violence gets created! We are in a lose-lose situation where ALL of us Zambians will end up losers regardless of whether we are the perpetrators or unfortunate victims of the violence, whether we are comfortably in government or in the opposition, or just common people like myself. It is thus incumbent upon every peace loving Zambian to condemn in the strongest terms possible this strange spate of Zambian-on-Zambian violence which the country has never experienced in its 50 years of independence! We may be afraid to speak out so that we can protect our small jobs, titles, allowances, ill-gotten wealth and offices but if the violence ends up engulfing our country in flames, all those things shall end up in flames anyway. We shall all be losers, whether we like it or not. It is better to be proactive and prevent impeding catastrophe! Once we reach the point-of-no-return where open strife erupts in this country, we can never reclaim the peace we would have lost. Examples of countries who are still struggling to restore some semblance of peace after years of violence abound, e.g. DRC, Angola, Somalia, Mozambique, the whole of North Africa, parts of the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian lands, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, etc. The point I am belaboring to make is that: Peace once lost is hard to get back!. Is this the legacy we would want to leave to our children and grandchildren? To remember us as people who had plunged their country in extreme chaos and suffering? Then they shall definitely curse us to Rot In Peace (R.I.P.) and not Rest In Peace in our graves for having left pure hell behind for them to inherit.
Under all the superficial layers of party affiliations, tribes, ethnicities, status, positions, religious faiths and persuasions is a common core that identifies all of us as Zambians. Then how can we be busy killing each other when we are brothers and sisters? If ZAWA only uses live ammo on animals in exceptional cases, how can our security forces be so trigger-happy to use it on fellow Zambians – human beings? This is inexcusable from any point of view. All in the name of winning an election at all costs or grabbing a piece of land! No, this is unacceptable despite the high levels of unemployment, poverty and insatiable appetite for power and material things currently being displayed in our country.
Part of the reason why we are having this sorry state of governance in our country is that the important governance bodies like parliament, the police, ACC, DEC, the Judiciary and ECZ have been neutralized and rendered impotent. Hence they can’t function professionally as they are expected to since they have to tow the line of the appointing authority or else they lose their jobs. This is why people are breaking the law with impunity and with no fear as if they are a law unto themselves. Please unshackle these institutions so that they do the jobs they are paid to do professionally and without hindrance. If this is done, we should not see a situation where the police stand by while innocent people are assaulted or even killed with impunity; a victim reports a case of violence to the police and he is arrested instead while the culprit remains free, the police are selective in their dispensation of justice, violence and impunity have become the hallmarks of by-elections in the country, etc. My dear Zambian relative, this is the time for you to speak out and condemn this violence before it engulfs all of us. Whether you are a former president or cabinet minister in previous regimes, retiree, the clergy, those who hate politics, young or old, man or woman and so on, we have to condemn this madness so that it is nipped in the bud TODAY!. Strife will not discriminate among us based on our party affiliations or earthly possessions. We shall ALL become victims and losers. Let’s practice our politics with humility, civility, respect, tolerance and humanity. We need to dialogue and tolerate differences among ourselves – we can’t all be the same. This is why Botswana has been ranked as the best governed country in Africa because in that country the government works very closely with the opposition parties, despite their differences. This creates a very conducive political environment for all.
We demand, expect and cherish peace over all of our motherland!
DR. BIEMBA MALITI
NAREP – GET INVOLVED NOW!