POLITICS of vengeance, retribution and witch-hunt should come to an end in Zambia because they do not help to build the country’s democracy but instead divide it, former Foreign Affairs Minister Kabinga Pande has said.
Mr Pande said when the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power in 2011, he was of the hope that political vengeance and retribution which often targeted former leaders would end but was disappointed that the culture was instead promoted which led to the arrest and persecution of former president Rupiah Banda and many other leaders.
Mr Pande said it was not healthy for every successive president in Zambia to embark on hunting down his predecessor under the guise of fighting corruption.
Yesterday, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema was quoted as having warned that he was going to make President Edger Lungu account for his actions should he (Hichilema) become president after the August general elections.
He explained that the unprecedented political violence could be associated with the culture of vengeance, retribution and political witch-hunt which party members fear could either happen to their leaders whether in government or in the opposition.
He explained that while it was important that every president should be able to do the right things while in State House, it was important that the office of presidency was respected by ensuring that those who occupied such an office were not politically victimised after leaving office. Mr Pande said presidents enjoyed the immunity from prosecution and that if those who were aspiring to take up the leadership of the country wanted to perpetuate the culture of hunting down former leaders, then there was need to truncate the immunity clause in the Constitution.
He, however, said that those who occupied the office of president should never be tempted to abuse the immunity clause by engaging in acts that would offend those who were being governed.
“It is not health to persecute or hunt down former presidents in Zambia. When the PF came into power in 2011, we thought the culture of vengeance would come to an end but we were disappointed that it became worse. Politics of vengeance should come to an end because they do not help to build or unite the country. Probably this is what has been causing violence in our country. There has been unprecedented violence and we are behaving like animals towards each other… killing one another purely because we belong to different political organisations,” Mr Pande said.
Mr Pande said in countries such as Tanzania and Mozambique, political parties often co-existed and that political party cadres were never involved in violence because they believed in civil politics.
“I led a three-man delegation of observer team for elections in Tanzania and Mozambique and I saw that when one political party is having a rally at one venue, another political party would peacefully wait until it was done and take up the venue later,” Mr Pande said.