Specter of violence

The threat of violence against Members of Parliament proposed by the Patriotic Front (PF) not so young youths is an eventuality that must be condemned by all peace loving Zambians who value the unity, peace and tranquility that we are enjoying.

The peace we are enjoying should not be taken for granted. It can be lost to the detriment of all.  

Those old enough to have witnessed  the turmoil in Rwanda will have no wish to see this country go in the same direction however grave the differences may be.  Those who missed the tragedy had better ask the many refugees from Rwanda.

Many failed states in Africa   started their descent into anarchy from fairly innocuous beginnings which have quickly escalated into very serious national crises that spun out of control. A typical example being Somalia which has become almost ungovernable in spite of the fact that the people enjoy a common heritage.

Zambia is a kaleidoscope of tribes- 73 in total at the last count, bound together by a common vision from which we enjoy our diversity. It is from this background that we choose to agree or disagree without rancor that would drive us to violence.

There is no doubt that the majority of “Barotse” citizens would not want any form of upheaval and schism that will take away from the peace and tranquility that this nation has enjoyed over the last 50 years.

If anything the church, civil society and indeed citizens from all walks of life want a strong and robust constitution that will cement us even more “legally”- in order to check expectation and obligations of citizens and Government alike.

We have said before and would want to repeat that, what is happening in Parliament should be confined to parliament. Outsiders, however incensed, should not export the difference to the streets where it may assume ugly and uncontrollable proportions.

To differ is not fatal and indeed differences within the family are normal. What is fatal is to translate a difference into a physical confrontation from which no ultimate winner will emerge because every conflict invariably ends around a negotiating table.

The hall mark of any stable democracy is the vibrant and sometimes acrimonious debate as issues are canvassed to arrive at the best possible alternative among many competing choices. Life is not linear, lest of all political life which exists on compromise.

Recently Congress in the United States virtually shut down Government to make the point for prudent spending. Elsewhere this would have been regarded as an act of treason! Not in the US of A.

Therefore those with any influence over Mr. Kamba and his friends must counsel them against planting the seed of violence in the minds of the Zambian people. We still do not know who killed Simwela and who indeed organized the Panga campaign that saw so many people injured, some maimed seriously.

If such mayhem could take place within an  intra party dispute what will happen  if the violence becomes inter party, considering also that the parties are to a very large extent identifies by tribal affiliation.

The thought is just too ghastly to contemplate.