It is simply a matter of time before somebody or some people are charged with treason, not on account of deserving conduct but rather to prove a point and satisfy the prevailing circumstances.
The escalating political crisis is becoming uglier by the day and is bound to terminate in the ultimate contrivable political offence, treason.
As we write more than 56 UPND members are in prison, incarcerated for various offences, some of them related to the demise of one Patriotic Front cadre, Harrison Chanda in circumstances that are less than clear.
Although the circumstances of the death are not clear to date, the public media, the President, the Minister of Justice, Minister of Home Affairs and by extension the entire country has found the UPND as a Party responsible for the death- long before any court of law has made a formal conviction.
The same thing happened in the case Johan Lyakoka 19, the cook to Western Province Mwaliteta who died in equally unclear circumstances in Livingstone a few weeks ago.
Emotions were roused with accusations that the death was political, actuated by the UPND. It was said at the time that Lyakoka was hacked to death.
Wynter Kabimba, the Minister of Justice, Patriotic Front Secretary General and a Lawyer by profession is on record as having said that the UPND was behind the death of Lyakoka, and should therefore be held accountable. He said at the time that the UPND was struggling to find a candidate for the Livingstone Central parliamentary by-election, and was aware of its impending loss and therefore had resorted to violence as a way of instilling fear in voters.
He went on to say and we quote “I think it’s time that the people of Zambia held UPND to account and its leadership for cultivating violence during elections or election campaigns.
He went on to say that the UPND had identified itself as a party that believed in violence.
“And if UPND is left unchecked on these activities, they’ll become a political party that will sow seeds of civil war in this country. So, the point is that there’re certainly two classes of leadership in UPND; that which believes in violence as the means to an end and that which does not believe in violence. And the one group that does not believe in violence must disengage from that political party,” said Kabimba.
He concluded by saying “”I also want to say that the police must investigate this latest incident in Livingstone and make sure that the culprits are brought to book even if it involves some leaders in UPND; because whoever did it could not have done it without express instructions from the UPND leadership.”
The Police dutifully investigated the matter and concluded that Lyakako died from injuries sustained from a Road Traffic accident. He was not hacked to death by the UPND.
This discovery came too late, long after the damage had been done to the image and standing of the party. The words uttered by Wynter a senior Government official had already convicted the party.
It is important for the Zambian people to know that three deaths so far occurring during periods of bye-elections have been ascribed to the UPND.
The first one was Menyani Zulu another PF cadre who met his fate in Rufunsa where he had been transported for a campaign.
The second was Obvious Mwaliteta’s cook Johan Lyakoka 19 transported into Livingstone for the campaign from Mongu. Then the third and most recent one also is Harrison Chanda also transported from Monze into Livingstone for the by elections.
All the three therefore are victims of by election having been transported from other towns.
The President has again already pronounced himself on the death and so has the Minister of Justice.
These are dangerous pronouncements as they will undoubtedly raise anger and disaffection among ordinary people who have been led to believe that Chanda was hacked, most likely with a machete, in cold blood.
Nobody as of now knows the truth. Not even the Police. Some information will be gleaned from the Postmortem and perhaps a little more from investigations, but meanwhile blame has been apportioned and people are being punished through incarceration.
For a while we were made to believe that HH himself was to be arrested for the “murder”. We have a situation where Justice is being used as a vehicle to promote injustice.
This is how bitterness is stoked..