Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO
EVENTS in Southern Province that have followed the 2016 general elections are traumatising, to say the least.
Nobody expected the violence that has characterised the aftermath of the polls, which has seen the destruction of property, pursuing people believed to be from outside the province, beating them up and displacing them.
Zambia has never experienced such hatred and purging of other tribes from some regions. This is not what those who advocated for the return of multi-party politics bargained for.
Zambians have been known to co-exist irrespective of their political, religious and ideological differences.
The â€˜One Zambia, one nationâ€™ adage has for a long time bonded this country such that people who came from outside the country never saw tribe, colour, creed and religion.
All they saw was Zambia, people full of smiles despite their socio-economic status because they loved one another.
It is the reason Zambia has been a beacon of peace and stability as well as a role model for democracy in Africa.
Added to that is the affirmation of our great country as a Christian nation, bound by the blood of Jesus Christ.
However, the return to multi-party politics in 1991 has started undoing all that our forefathers fought for.
Zambia is slowly being divided across ethnic lines â€“ no thanks to the outcome of the elections, which is a contest designed to show the popularity of a candidate going into State House.
Violence is turning elections into a farce because the outcome of the majority is no longer being respected.
Yet, this country has avenues for registering of grievances and violence or ethnic cleansing has never been recommended as an alternative to resolving electoral disputes.
Zambia has an independent judiciary, which has capacity to deal with all electoral-related disputes.
Of course, some judgments may have been deemed to have come out of time to have their intended effect, such as the nullification of ministersâ€™ stay in office by the Constitutional Court and the United Party for National Developmentâ€™s case against the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporationâ€™s refusal to air the major oppositionâ€™s advertisement.
It is not the timing of the judgment but the courts were firm enough to deliver their verdict.
Therefore, aggrieved parties should never give up on the judiciary and resort to violence because inflicting harm on innocent people will never resolve such issues.
As things stand now, the violence in Southern Province smacks of historical grievances, which should be brought to the attention of concerned authorities â€“ Government, the church and traditional authority.
One such grievance could be that they are yet to produce a republican President. They should not despair because Godâ€™s time is the best.
God knows when a person from that region will rise to govern Zambia â€“ at His own time – and violence should not induce that decision.
If they are pursuing people from other tribes, they should imagine what other tribes from the other provinces will do when that time comes. It may be genocide.
There may be protests over opportunities for business, which they may not be getting enough. Present that to President-elect Edgar Lungu and he will, in his humility, wisdom and love for all Zambians, provide the level playing field.
Going forward, Zambians from all walks of life should embrace love and peace.
When aggrieved, consult the Bible â€“ Godâ€™s supreme Word.
The Bible says in Romans 12:9-10 and verse 17 to 21 of the same Romans 12 that living in peace with people and not taking revenge is important.
Godâ€™s Word in Matthew 5:43-47 encourages us to love our enemies.
â€œYou have heard that it was said, â€˜Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.â€™ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Godâ€™s Love and Ours
The Bible in 1 John 4:7-8 says: â€œDear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.â€
And John 15:17 is very categorical: â€œThis is my command: Love each otherâ€, and if our Creator is very categorical about love and forgivesness, why is Zambia hurting?
It is time to close ranks and move on for the sake of the big picture, the country.
Let us remain â€˜One Zambia, one nationâ€™.
The author is editorials editor at the Zambia Daily Mail.
Analysis: BENEDICT TEMBO