Editor's Comment

UPND leadership should stop Stone Age cadres

WE ARE deeply saddened and taken aback by the misbehaviour of United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres.
We find it difficult to believe that in this age of civility, the major opposition party’s cadres continue to exhibit such retrogressive behaviour.
On Thursday, UPND cadres ran amok, damaging vehicles and property in an illegal march to offer solidarity to their party president Hikainde Hichilema and his vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba in a presidential election petition hearing.
The cadres, who were clad in UPND regalia, took to the streets around 10:00 hours on Thursday causing panic among motorists and residents as they chanted party slogans and threw stones at vehicles.
As they marched from their secretariat the cadres harassed and brutalised residents and damaged vehicles.
A Misisi resident, Frank Banda, was one of the victims allegedly attacked by the unruly cadres while selling brooms. He sustained multiple body injuries and lost personal items during the attack.
Police were alerted after four motorists reported that their cars had been damaged by the unruly cadres.
At the High Court where the cadres had gone to offer solidarity to their leaders, they continued their unruly behaviour without due respect for such dignified premises. They defied instructions not to enter the court grounds and forced their way in.
The cadres again ran amok by throwing stones and in the process damaged several vehicles belonging to lawyers and government officials, including High Court judges Getrude Chawatama and Betty Mungo’mba.
The cadres also smashed a glass door near the court offices in the fracas and police responded by teargassing them to restore order.
This misbehaviour is not only uncivilised but criminal and should be condemned in the strongest terms. This kind of behaviour has no place in a civilised society like ours. It is for the Stone Age.
The perpetrators of the fracas should not be left free but must be made to face the wrath of the law as this will send a strong message to would-be offenders. We are happy that police have so far arrested 52 suspects.
UPND cadres should understand that apart from breaching peace, their behaviour also undermines the autonomy and integrity of the Judiciary.
The Judiciary is a professional and autonomous body with adept men and women to handle all its functions and therefore does not need the help of cadres, who have little, if any, understanding of the law.
The UPND cadres should respect the Judiciary and not attempt to arm-twist this highly specialised arm of Government to make decisions on their narrow and uninformed terms.
The unruly behaviour by UPND cadres is also a clear and sad indication that they have no respect for the laws that govern this country.
The UPND leadership is expected to come out strongly against their cadres’ misconduct instead of trying to find lame justifications for such incivility.
Failure to do so will mean the party endorses riotous behaviour exhibited by its cadres.
Research has shown that a leader exerts a certain level of influence on followers. It is therefore incumbent upon the UPND leadership to exert positive influence on its members.
The UPND should also understand that such behaviour also reflects badly on the image and values of the party.
In view of the damage caused by the cadres, we urge the UPND leadership to take responsibility and compensate the victims.

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