The recent happenings in Shiwangandu cannot go without comment especially from us charged with responsibility to advise leaders’ peace building and defense strategies for various nations in turmoil or those with indicators pointing to it.
Historical evidence suggests that the process of state formation is riddled with conflict, violence and uncertainty over the institutional structure as groups compete to establish positions of power and legitimacy (Moore 1966; Tilly 1990; Mann 1993; Cramer 2006).
The failed states literature stresses that there are certain indicators that are necessary (if not sufficient) to categorise a state as ‘failed’. The persistence of political violence is salient in most definitions of ‘failed states’. For Rotberg (2003)
Failed states are tense, deeply conflicted, dangerous, and bitterly contested by warring factions. In most failed states, government troops battle armed revolts led by one or more warring factions (this is the next stage Zambia will be at should the PF be allowed in power). It’s evident enough the former first lady Mrs. Mwanawasa Maureen PhD, Mrs. Nalumango Mutale (former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Lunte MP Hon Felix Mutati, Hon Patrick Mucheleka (Member of Parliament), the people of Shiwangandu and the Muvi TV Journalist and the helicopter pilot were attacked by the Patriotic Front panga wielding militias acting at the instruction of the yet to be known architect and most probably under the blessing of the PF presidential candidate Hon Edgar C Lungu. The video footage is clear and evidence points to the PF as perpetrators of this violence.
Currently the PF party is deeply rooted in tense and intra party political rife among its own members as well as harboring immense fear of losing to the opposition UPND. The resolve to violence as a means of defending PF strongholds has potential to ignite uncontrollable violence should the UPND counter attacks in view of defending themselves in their territories. The fact is that where PF is strong, UPND is the minority and equally PF is the minority in UPND strongholds. Taking the example of Sierra Leon most parts of the country could ignite into strife, a situation likely to bring untold miserly to the least disadvantaged groups such as women and children. Unfortunately, to date, none of the once vibrant women rights advocates or NGOs has come out in the open to condemn this act of violence when its vivid in the footage women were victimized. PF misrule has been characterized with violence and non – tolerance to divergent views. This situation has earned Zambian an unfavorable rating on the Fragile States Index 2014 Report as Very High Warning (this tells the world that anything catastrophic is bound to happen any time). In this category, we are together with countries such as Iran, Sierra Leone, Mali, Cambodia, Angola, Libya, Lebanon, Congo (Republic) Tajikistan etc. This report is widely used in foreign direct investment decisions and the present outlook shows dwindling FDI flow to Zambia largely due to political instability among others. Under the PF misrule, Zambia is swiftly drifting toward a failing state in key comparative indicators. The observation by Dr. Maureen Mwanawasa and Hon Nalumango Mutale that Zambia is a failed state is indeed true. PF can help quell this trend with momentum to plunge the nation into chaos by changing their approach to democratically acceptable norms especially that it’s the party in government. Finally, It’s perilous to ignore this tension in the country. PF candidate (Hon Edgar C Lungu) risks losing the January 20 vote as rational Zambians will shift towards accommodative UPND should violence and intolerance be ignored and as a National Broadcaster, ZNBC has the role to play in the maintenance of peace and stability in the country by balancing up stories as opposed to its present position of blacking out other political players contrary to the impartial high court ruling compelling them to air rallies of other political players. Currently, activities of the PF have potential to foment anarchy in the Zambian State – a Nation that once new no post-independence violence.
Mauya Ngwira (PhD)
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES – IISS