Editor's Comment

Youths must stop political violence

IT LOOKS like there are deliberate attempts by some people to trigger violence at every opportunity. Reasons for wanting to do so may not be clear, but they seem to believe that violence will serve their purposes better than the peace Zambia has been enjoying for decades.
How else would one explain the brazen disparaging of political rivals and right in front of them? This is the worst order of provocation. According to eye-witnesses, this is what United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres did at Youth Day celebrations in Lusaka yesterday.
The insults triggered a reaction from Patriotic Front (PF) youths, who would not allow anyone denigrating their leaders. This spiraled into physical confrontation, which was eventually quelled by the police, but not after several injuries on either side of the political divide.
What is of even greater concern is that this provocation was certainly not a spur of the moment action given the well-coordinated anti-establishment songs. This indicates that the objective was to provoke the rivals. Whoever was involved in the planning must certainly have expected this kind of a reaction.
Why should anyone want to provoke others? Why should anyone want to use such a non-partisan occasion to annoy others?
Such are times that political rivals at every level should be showing tolerance of each other to prove that they indeed do have the interest of the country and its people at heart.
Youths should be heeding the call by their leaders to avoid violence. Similarly, leaders who are not categorical or firm in their condemnation of violence should up their act.
President Lungu is particular about the need to preserve peace and to keep violence off the political landscape, but the same cannot be said about the commitment of some other political party leaders who would rather continue playing the victim even when their members commit the first act of hostility.
On Friday, President Lungu reiterated his commitment to fight violence and this message was underscored yesterday by ministers at various Youth Day celebrations where they officiated.
It is good that the police quickly quelled yesterday’s confrontation before it got uglier but the matter should not end at that, especially that there are reports of use of offensive weapons. The police should bring the culprits to book.
There are some leads the police can follow and the earlier they do so, the better.
The youths should also not allow themselves to be pawns in the political rivalry. They also shouldn’t allow the misdeeds of a few cadres mar their day or derail their goals in life.
Yesterday, the youths were presented with an opportunity to prove that they were adding value to Zambia’s social, economic and, especially political development.
The Youth Day stage was a good chance for them to show the nation that their word and deed gives hope that Zambia will sooner rather than later be in good hands.
To a large extent, this was so as the youths proudly marked their day with parades across the country and voiced their views on various issues affecting them directly. The vast majority of the youths were obviously at these occasions to happily celebrate their day, embrace one another and spell out their concerns to the authorities.
The ugly incident in Lusaka tainted the day but they should not allow this to overshadow their contributions to society nor distract them from doing good for themselves and the country.

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