Understanding Lungu’s attitude towards political violence

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |
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It takes two to tangle, but to cut the hogwash, any sincere person knows that mostly PF has been the aggressor. The aggressor who became stronger due to the failure by the police to act. The police statements have been soft on PF, justice has been applied selectively and PF leadership has never directly criticized their membership but have been quick to castigate the opposition.

Violence begets violence. This trend is what has forced UPND to flex their muscles. In their eyes justice is a fuss, when it comes to political violence. UPND have been stripped naked, hacked at funerals, killed and stoned on campaign trails, yet all these gross acts never prompted a reaction from Lungu and his government. That is how we got, here. And this is as good as flirting with civil war.

Key to all this is the relaxed attitude of the President towards violence. Lungu would rather preach against violence, pretend to be humble than use the authority he has to end it. This attitude can be explained by the following:

He won the PF candidacy using violence and intimidation. Which taught him that to win something you must do anything including violence.

His political advisor slapped a police officer in his presence and got away with it. It’s moments like these that make the police wonder who the real boss is, the IG or statehouse?

He has never directly denounced his party cadres for violent acts but always speaks generally. When cadres don’t hear it boldly from their master’s mouth, it is an indirect order encouraging them to carry on with violent acts.

He would have fired Kanganja by now if he sincerely believed his incompetence was the reason for continued violence. Since Kanganja has been IG we have witness incessant violence, extra judicial killings and increased police brutality. How Lungu does not see failure by the IG and home affairs minister is baffling.

The buck stops with Lungu. He can use his appointing authority to replace the IG if he feels he is incompetent. He can directly order the PF cadres to stop violence, dismantle their militia and encourage the police to arrest culprits. And he can use the army to quell volatile situations during elections, no stupid cadre can raise their tail to a soldier who is trained to kill.

Kampyongo needs to be educated as well that incompetent law maker. He is the political head of the police and not the commander. His role is to ensure that the police have executive support, resources and is available to ensure domestic security. The assertions that he runs a parallel police force infiltrated with cadres are troubling. This is the man whose thugs in Shiwangandu put the lives of former first lady and deputy speaker in danger, and yet we continue to trust him with our security. Would Zambia have been the same if these women were assassinated?

Right now the goodwill between PF and UPND is farfetched. If you listen to the language of people like Bowman and Kampyongo or the deception of the PF media you will realize just how this violence is abetted by the PF leadership. PF should be singled out because they are the ones in power, and with the responsibility to make the first step towards ending violence.

Richard W

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