Editor's Comment

That’s how it should be

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema (left) at the funeral service of veteran politician and freedom fighter Daniel Munkombwe in Choma. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA/ STATE HOUSE

THE unity and tolerance exhibited by our political leaders from both the governing and opposition political parties during the burial ceremony of veteran politician Daniel Munkombwe underscores the humane face of politics.Government and opposition party leaders on Wednesday observed a unilateral truce and interacted freely in a rare show of national unity.
During the funeral, President Edgar Lungu, who was the chief mourner, shook hands and chatted with United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema.
Mourners, including some members of the bereaved family, nodded their heads in approval of the two political rivals’ gesture.
Indeed, this is how it should be.
Political differences should only be in ideologies and not extended beyond.
This is why American founding father Thomas Jefferson said: ‘I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”
Unfortunately in the past we have seen a growing trend where differences in political opinion or losing an election have led to enmity.
We’ve had situations where political rivals could not meet eye to eye even in cases where national interest was at play.
The political enmity among major political parties, especially the Patriotic Front and UPND, time and again culminated into violence by cadres.
The recent manifestation of this political rivalry was during the recent Chilanga parliamentary by-election, where some cadres pounced and injured some voters and journalists.
President Lungu strongly condemned the incident, reprimanding cadres without sparing those from his party, the PF.
In a show of political rivalry we have also witnessed how the major opposition political party has shunned events of national interest such as National Prayer Day, Independence Day and Africa Freedom Day.
This is sad because political differences should be alienated from matters of national interest.
Political differences should only be in the context of ideas and therefore be restricted to the political stage.
In a democracy, it is expected that despite the number of contestants there can only be one winner in any given election contest.
Losing an election should therefore never be a basis for enmity.
In fact, those who lose elections should draw closer to those in power given that they share the same dreams – to serve the people.
We do not see why politicians should fight if all they want is to serve the people.
In fact, when politicians fight it is the people they claim to want to serve who end up suffering.
It is therefore commendable that the political leaders did not only fulfil Munkombwe’s wish for them to reconcile but that of many peace-loving Zambians.
We are also happy that the gesture by politicians was preceded by yet another warm interaction between our two mothers – the First Lady, Esther Lungu, and the UPND president’s wife, Mutinta Hichilema.
It is hoped that the unity exhibited at Munkombwe’s funeral marks a new era in our political dispensation.
We look forward to all political leaders collaborating on matters of national interest.
We know that President Lungu has always extended an olive branch to the opposition but some, in particular the UPND, have not been forthcoming.
We are however hopeful that the gesture witnessed in Choma recently is an indication of much more to come.
Now that the leaders have demonstrated unity and tolerance in public, we expect cadres to take a leaf from them and learn to co-exist.
After all we are sons and daughters of our beautiful motherland – Zambia. We may differ but we should care for one other.

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