Muscle men in politics: Catalyst of the specter of violence

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |

A few days ago, MMD co-founder, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, commonly known as AKA, shared a photo on his Facebook page from the archives. In the photo, AKA is seen speaking at a campaign rally. Standing next to him is the late Baldwin Nkumbula while Frederick Chiluba and Mufaya Mumbuna (both long gone, I guess) are seated listening. This was in Mongu, Western province in 1990 as the wind of change that would dislodge Kenneth Kaunda from power and usher in Chiluba continued to blow countrywide.

There’s something particularly interesting about this picture that has drawn my undivided attention and I’d encourage others to equally do the same as well. Now contrast this with the security detail seen crowding and not surrounding the leadership of two of our foremost political parties, the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) especially during the previous elections. What do we make of this?

We see muscle men – nay, menacing images of hulking individuals with barrel-chests and well developed muscles in berets, hiding behind dark glasses! According to Wikipedia, a muscle man can best be described as a henchman employed by a gangster to intimidate or use violence upon victims. Why should our political leaders allow these goons near them? Isn’t for a purpose of reigning terror and violence?

In 1990s as our country braced herself for the new beginning in our political dispensation, many of us were still in school. However, we chose to be part of this revolution by sneaking out of school to attend political rallies and listen to this new crop of leaders poised to bring about total liberation and economic prosperity! Although there was always the risk of being lifted “by air” by a few uncouth and misguided UNIP vigilantes, it cannot be compared to the scale of violence the country is witnessing today.

During the run up to elections, it has now become common practice to hear or read spine-chilling stories of cadres hacking limbs, gorging out eyes, setting houses ablaze and in certain instances killing opponents. Where’s all this violence……..Satanic behavior emanating from? Why should politics be a matter of life and death today?

Although politics is generally said to be a dirty game; in our country unfortunately, we’ve taken a step further and made it a violent activity! Politics is supposed to be a battle of wits……….contestation­ of ideas and not the other way round! Our modern day politicians have continued to SIN before God by fraternizing with individuals who are better off in the gym growing their muscles or in the ring belting it out with their peers. Without mincing our words, these are the individuals blemishing the image of what should otherwise be a noble profession.

Bill M. Kapinga
Freelance Writer

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One Response to Muscle men in politics: Catalyst of the specter of violence

  1. Mr. Kapinga, times have changed. In the Kaunda days, politics was more about serving than financial gain. In fact, it was that same short man seated in the picture who raised the stakes and made politics very lucrative. There was therfore an ‘armed race’ of sorts that eventually ensued for the political positions. If you were weak, you fell by the roadside. Marauding MMD cadres taught the opposition then to also recruit body guards or risk being brutalised. In a bid to protect themselves and their leaders, muscle men suddenly sprung up from both sides. In recent times, we saw the ruling party cadres dominate the security skyline. Levels of brutality escalated. You may call it evolution. Instances of the police not protecting the opposition did not help matters. The rest is history.

    Saimbwende
    August 9, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    Reply

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