Political leaders fueling violence


THE Church has accused political parties of fueling the political violence in the country because they seem to be benefiting from the fear and intimidation among the people.

Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Suzanne Matale said it was evident that some leaders were benefiting from the hostility perpetrated by the violence.

Reverend Matale said the intra-party and interparty violence being experienced was being used to gain political mileage in some quarters.

“What is becoming very clear is that parties concerned are not interested in stopping the violence as they seem to benefit from the confusion.

“Unless the leaders themselves came out strong against violence and counsel their cadres, it is obvious they are profiting from the chaos,” Rev Matale said.

She said political leaders could choose to stop buying beer and other intoxicating substances for the cadres who were mostly drunk during vicious attacks.

Rev Matale said political leaders should have taken the responsibility to counsel their cadres and denounce the continued violence if they were really interested in stopping it.

She said most leaders have failed to speak out against their cadres attacking members of other political parties and other people perceived to be supporting opposing political values.

“It is high time political party leaders stopped buying chibuku for their cadres, and all sorts of austerities attributed to hostile behaviour,” he said.

And Rev Matale has condemned the harassment of the media by political party cadres.

She described the attacks as retrogressive and against the doctrine of democracy in Zambian politics.

She said CCZ was concerned with the continued manhandling of media personnel covering political functions as well as disturbances of press operations.

“If the reports are in disagreement with what you are doing, it simply means it is time for the politicians to check themselves. It is not for the politicians to determine what is reported,” Rev Matale said.

She said the harassment of journalists and confiscating or damaging of their equipment was an attack on press freedom.

Rev Matale said politicians, like all other citizens, must use acceptable channels of redress including the courts and issuing reactions to the reported matter instead of resorting to violence.