A very certain blood bath was averted at the weekend.
Had the UPND officials insisted on holding the rally as legally allowed by court of law mayhem and possible loss of life would have occurred, because the Police, like party cadres were determined to make a point.
That the Police failed to act when confronted by machete wielding and knobkerrie carrying cadres is testimony to the connivance for wrong doing, which will deepen further questions about governance in this country and more importantly the impartiality of the police.
It was one thing for the Police to disregard a ruling by the High court allowing the UPND to hold a rally, but another to allow hordes of cadres carrying offensive weapons to march in Cairo Road on their way to the rally site, obviously ready to do battle.
At the very least the UPND members had notified the Police about their intended rally, while the armed cadres had done no such thing. They were allowed to march and threaten life and limb.
This display of lawlessness has introduced a culture of violence from which the country may yet have to come to terms with.
The spectacle recorded on Camera and reported on live radio goes beyond party politics to the fundamental issue of stewardship.
It is a reality that the cadres were organized to present a show of force to intimidate and indeed injure and maim. That police remained indifferent, unresponsive and totally unconcerned by the display of pent up anger among slogan chanting party cadres indicates an amount of complicity.
The Police it would appear were more concerned with the danger posed by un-armed innocent men and women who were to attend a meeting!
It is indeed one thing to stop a meeting and another to put lives in harms way by allowing hordes of armed cadres to present a danger to society. This is not dereliction of duty but wanton abuse of authority.
The fact that some local functionaries working with senior leaders were prepared to shed blood is unsettling as it is alarming, because it shows the extent to which the regime will descend to guard power and privilege.
By allowing armed cadres to march and confront perceived adversaries poses a question about the legitimacy and indeed quality of leadership that the country has reposed power into.
Political contestation should be about the quality of ideas and not violent manifestation of superiority.
It is clear that some of our politicians have failed to rise to the demands of modern politics which value and cherish intellectual ability than violent confrontation to beat opposition into acquiescence.
The introduction violence in our political discourse marks a very dangerous turn which may plunge the country into untold misery and fragmentation unless it is checked and checked quickly.