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Violence in politics.

Militias should be crushed indeed

ZAMBIA is well known for peace all over the world. We may not be as developed as the leading countries among developing countries, but surely we are the envy of many nations, including those on the vanguard of great economic expansion.
Peace costs something. It is not cheap. Conversely, it is priceless. It is one of the most important dynamics in any worthwhile development matrix.
When the founding fathers of our nation, fought tooth and nail for our independence, and successfully so, they did it under the motivation to have peace in what is now our beloved Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia).
They fought against what they perceived and understood as oppression by the colonial masters and succeeded in getting the country independent in 1964. They envisaged and wanted a country in which all would peacefully and unitedly work towards its socio-economic development.
To express that succinctly, our forefathers bequeathed a peaceful country with abundant natural resources. And that, every Zambian knows.
Thus, it is every Zambian’s moral obligation to safeguard and improve upon that heritage.
Against that backdrop, we commend the Zambia Police Service for thwarting what has been alleged to be an emergence of a United Party for National Development (UPND) militia at a property owned by the party’s vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba, near Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) in Lusaka on Saturday.
At the threshold of this discourse, we urge that any militia or similitudes of militia by any political party should be crushed. There are no warring parties in our country; we are a peaceful and iconic democratic country. So, no need for violence.
About 21 suspected UPND cadres, alleged to have been undergoing militia training at the named facility ahead of the August 11 general elections, were rounded up by police.
In the words of Deputy Inspector- General of Police for administration Eugene Sibote, the cadres were arrested for unlawful drilling and being in possession of offensive weapons.
This followed President Lungu’s statement on Friday that the UPND was allegedly training 250 youths in Lusaka as militia for the purpose of causing anarchy if it lost the general elections.
The head of State said the training is reportedly being led by expelled Patriotic Front (PF) member Innocent Kalimisha, who operated at Intercity Bus Terminus, but was expelled for thuggery.
Now, that is worrisome, as it poses a real danger to what we stand for as a nation. It represents that monster and ugly face that would want to derail Zambia from its peaceful and prosperous destiny.
The training of militia sounds like an insult to the efforts of our founding fathers, some of whom shed their precious blood fighting for the independence that we so cherish and are enjoying today.
How dare some people want to soil our heritage of peace and harmonious existence!
We give police a pat on the back for moving in promptly because no such thing should be taken lightly. Otherwise, there would be nothing but chaos, if not a semblance of hell. And as Zambians, we have said no to that sort of thing and will not grow weary in so doing.
Zambia is not at war. Therefore, it does not make any sense for any political party to mobilise and even train youths as militia under the guise of keeping fit.
Electoral violence is not child’s play as we have seen in many countries where it has happened. It is hard to recover from it. In fact, it is possible that naturally there is no full recovery from this diabolic thing. So, we need to prevent it at all costs.
We disagree with UPND national youth chairperson Likando Mufalali that the youths have been assembled for the purpose of fitness. What fitness? Do you need any more fitness for electoral campaigns than what is normal, the fitness of ordinary people?
Organised fitness, as we understand it, is for athletes like our professional boxers and the military because these, by virtue of their position, have to fight. But why must politicians think of developing militia when everyone, from the head of State, are preaching peace and oneness regardless of political affiliation in the run-up to the general elections?
It is not for politicians to deal with violence. That is a primary preserve of the Zambia Police Service and our security wings as well as observer missions, unless they wish to usurp the authority of these institutions.
Surely, why should police recover a register of 158 youths reportedly undergoing militia training at a political party facility. Worse, what would we make of the recovery by the same police of eight rounds of ammunition, three machetes, a spear, a golf stick and some cannabis from the same premises?
Our advice to all political parties is that they should just concentrate on campaigning for the general elections, which are slowly approaching, not preparing for physical fights, even if they are not sure of their chances in the elections.
In the event that they do not take what we are saying, and choose to go with what their foster friends are encouraging them to, they should be prepared to be met by the full force of the law.