I understand that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda took a swipe at the UPND for its intention to cause anarchy and not to accept defeat in the last general elections during his recent high
profile visit to Zambia. He went as far as advising the UPND leadership against falling into the temptation of destroying the country they were aspiring to govern and he further warned that the opposition party risked taking over a politically destroyed country (“Museveni warns against anarchy”, Daily Nation, October 24, 2016). As far as I am concerned, the warning was timely coming from a seasoned African statesman whose security forces are pedigreed with strong-arm tactics when it comes to quelling civil unrests. For instance in 2011, civil society groups in Uganda had once decided to highlight the sky-rocketing cost of food and fuel by walking en-masse to work. But what was meant to be a peaceful protest degenerated into violence when a defeated presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, who had emerged as one of the protest leaders, was roughly torn from a car by plain-clothes policemen. But this was not before his car window was smashed and his face pepper sprayed at close range. Such was the severity of his injuries that Kizza Besigye was hospitalised in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi – but only after intense lobbying from foreign governments and local media to allow him leave Uganda. The authorities said that they were extremely provoked. Do not get me wrong. I am not asking the Zambian security forces to imitate their Ugandan counterparts when applying strong-arm tactics in any civil unrest. However, should the UPND leaders continue to agitate for anarchy and to disrespect those in authority, then the Zambian security forces would have no option but to apply the Kizza Besigye formula from Uganda. I have no respect for opposition political leaders who continue to insult and disrespect their fellow leaders in authority, for the good of their own selfish interests.
Mubanga Luchembe, LUSAKA