Editor's Comment

UPND should stop violence

JUST when we thought the recent peace accord signed by Zambia’s rival parties Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND) would hold, or at least significantly reduce inter-party violence, attacks by the opposition political party have continued.
What gave Zambia hope that the run-in to the elections would be more peaceful, was that the peace accord was endorsed by respective chief executive officers, Davies Mwila of PF and Batuke Imenda from UPND.
Such a meeting would be meaningless and remain academic if other structures of the two parties do not buy into the said agreements.
It is not only disappointing but also heart-rending that some cadres are doing the exact opposite of what their leaders are preaching. This is reflected in the murder of two PF members and the subsequent arrest of UPND cadres.
The two, according to the police, were brutally murdered as their bodies had several deep wounds, apparently inflicted using all sorts of weapons.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Charity Katanga disclosed that the two identified cadres were murdered in their camp as they prepared lunch.
Further, Mrs Katanga said police have since arrested four UPND suspects over the murder of which two were in hospital after the public descended on them while another two are in police custody.
Our worry, which should also be for every peace-loving Zambian, is that UPND pledged in front of Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to uphold peace and co-existence with PF.
Chief electoral officer Kryticous Nshindano, who was mediator, promised to be impartial.
Going by the levels of non-compliance to the signed peace accord, we feel that there is commitment to ‘walk the talk’ from the top leadership of UPND.
Society has time and again called on the presidents of the two parties to openly condemn violence if their cadres are to take the peace accord with the seriousness it deserves.
PF president Edgar Lungu has publicly and repeatedly made it clear on several fora that he would not shield anyone caught involved in violence.
Recently, he challenged UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to rein in the opposition party members to help ease the tension and end violence.
A couple of days later, Mr Hichilema urged his members not to retaliate. Soon after this message to his supporters, they raided a PF camp.
Somewhat strangely, the party says it is not aware of its members being arrested by the police in connection with the murder. Really?
Any party worth its salt should have is ears to the ground and have clear communication lines through which information flow would be instant. This is especially so, now that campaigns are intense.
One is bound to wonder if UPND does really want to end violence. It is worrisome.

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