Jean Kapata has urged Patriotic Front cadres to be peaceful and refrain from instigating violence in the Chilanga parliamentary by-election.
Kapata said any Patriotic Front cadre found in any violent campaigns would be disowned and law enforcers would be called against them. Kapata, who is the Patriotic Front campaign manager in the Chilanga parliamentary by-election, promised issue-based campaigns saying the district had already seen total transformation through the massive infrastructure development in the newly created district.
So, the violent Patriotic Front cadres have to be disowned and police have to be called by the leadership of the Patriotic Front to deal with them? So, without being disowned and called in to deal with them, police can’t do anything? It’s a well-known fact that police officers of all ranks are afraid to touch Patriotic Front cadres and can lose their jobs for doing so. Going for violent Patriotic Front cadres is seen as being disloyal to the Patriotic Front and its government and as such, police officers are always afraid to touch Patriotic Front cadres. And what Kapata is saying confirms this – the violent Patriotic Front cadres have to be disowned and police have to be called by the leadership of the Patriotic Front to deal with them! Otherwise, which law enforcement officer can dare arrest a Patriotic Front cadre for violence against the opposition or political opponents of Edgar Lungu? No police officer can dare act professionally against a Patriotic Front cadre. Patriotic Front cadres are law enforcement officers themselves; they consider themselves above the law.
This is the lawlessness that has been tolerated, encouraged and perpetrated by Patriotic Front leaders and cadres. And this has more or less become their political culture – their normal way of doing politics.
But soon, the Patriotic Front will realise that all lawlessness is a two-edged sword, and there’s no healing for its wound.
Why is the Patriotic Front calling for a violence free campaign in Chilanga? Our simple and only explanation is that they know violence in Chilanga will not deliver them the desired result. Chilanga is not Shiwang’andu where they have managed to entrench a sub-culture of violence because of the very high poverty levels in the area. It’s not because the Patriotic Front leadership and cadres have abandoned political violence. We are yet to see the end of political violence from the Patriotic Front. They can’t politically and otherwise survive without violence.
This call for a non-violent campaign from Kapata is not out of principle or high political morality. It’s out of political expediency; it’s out of a realisation that political violence in Chilanga won’t simply do.
The Patriotic Front needs to reflect and meditate deeply over its marriage to violence. We are told in Matthew 26:52-54, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?’”
Psalm 11:5 reminds us, “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”
The Patriotic Front, even for very selfish of reasons, needs to move away from violence. Isaiah 60:18 teaches us: “Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.”
And the opposition shouldn’t be tempted to go the Patriotic Front violent way; “Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways” (Proverbs 3:31); “not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:3); “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image”
(Genesis 9: 5-6).