Derisory Amnesty


HE who comes to equity must do so with clean hands, and this is meant to ensure justice is not only done but is also seen to be done. The conduct and general demeanour of the person(s) seeking relief from the wrath of the law is anticipated to conform to the accepted social standards of behaviour. Are calls for amnesty justifiable? Have the affected UPND members shown remorse for their actions? We do not think so. The attack on former defence minister Richwell Siamunene after he attended a court session yesterday makes very sad reading and must be condemned in  the strongest terms. In fact, the continued violent conduct by the UPND cadres shows that they are not remorseful for their violent behaviour. It is, therefore, a mockery of the worst kind to ask for amnesty of the United Party for National Development (UPND) members who committed various electoral offences during and after the August 11 general elections when they have continued to do so. This does not impute that they do not deserve to be pardoned, but the conduct exhibited so far calls for careful assessment before a decision is made. It is common knowledge that a person who offends others must acknowledge the offence committed and ask for forgiveness if they are to be forgiven. We observe with sadness that the merchants of “Armageddon” are now daring Government to cause political instability and play victim even when it is plainly clear that they are deliberately being provocative. The UPND and their sympathisers are on record to have promised political chaos and instability in the aftermath of the general elections and their conduct comes as no surprise at all. It is vital to underscore that every action has consequences and people must be held accountable for what they do. Thus, the UPND members should know that their actions will always have consequences and that they must be ready to bear the brunt. An appeal to the minister of Justice to consider extending amnesty to the UPND cadres currently in custody on various electoral related charges is ill-timed. We are of the view that there is a high risk that such amnesty, if granted, risks being abused owing to the continued arrogance by the party leaders. Instead, we think it is important to let a thorough probe into the violence that characterised the August elections. And the decision by the Head of State, Mr Edgar Lungu, to constitute a commission of inquiry to probe the post-election violence is the sure way to make sure the culprits are held accountable for their action. In this vein, granting amnesty to some of the UPND supporters would render the proposed inquiry nugatory. We urge the UPND leaders to prevail over their party members so that we curb political violence. It is a danger to our democracy and should not be condoned to continue in our country.

Categorized | Editorial

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