British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet says Zambia must have a meaningful national dialogue or else there is a prospect for serious trouble in 2021.
“The conclusion which the international community is drawing from what happened in Sesheke is that it underlines the need for national dialogue,” says High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet. “Zambia must have a meaningful national dialogue because if it doesn’t, then there is a prospect of serious trouble in 2021. So we need to fully…to dialogue which looks into issues like the public order Act, electoral reforms, constitutional reforms and other issues.”
Indeed the writing is on the wall. The violence we witnessed in Sesheke was a build-up on violence that characterised the Mangango parliamentary by-election. It’s escalating.
We can all see where this is taking us. But it is being tolerated because it benefits Edgar Lungu and his minions. They are benefiting from this political violence. Through political violence they managed to win in the Mangango by-election. They hoped the same approach would enable them to win in Sesheke!
As we have warned before, we should brace ourselves for more political violence. It’s only through violence, intimidation and other abuses that Edgar can win any election in this country. And Edgar has clearly shown us that he is ready to do anything to retain power.
As Pope Francis warned, “When the exercise of political power aims only at protecting the interests of a few privileged individuals, the future is compromised and young people can be tempted to lose confidence…good politics at the service of peace.” Those who hold political office, he says, must exercise their office in service to others, basing their work on the foundation of charity and human virtues.
Edgar doesn’t want political dialogue because it will lead to changes in the public order Act and the way it is administered. Edgar has been using the public order Act to curtail the political work of the opposition and keep himself ahead.
Edgar has been abusing the entire judicial system to keep himself in power. Meaningful dialogue will lead to the loosening of his grip on the police, the prosecution authorities and the courts.
Harry Truman warned:
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
And this is where we are headed as a nation.
The increase in political violence in our country should worry everyone with a conscience.
Edgar and his minions know very well what’s going on. But they don’t care because that is what they want.
They don’t see anything wrong with their violence.
And as Patriotic Front secretary general Davis Mwila has warned, the nation should brace itself for more violence from ruling party cadres in the next elections. Where will this end?
We have political violence because there are people benefiting from it.
The truth is Edgar benefits from politics of violence and without violence he is out.
And this is why they are accusing those trying to push dialogue of seeking regime change.
And as we have stated before, from the time Edgar entered the race for the presidency of this country in 2014, his support base has been a violent one. Edgar has done nothing to stop violence. Actually even his own language is of violence. We have lost more people to political violence under Edgar’s presidency than in all other governments since 1991 added together. Why?
Edgar politically survives by violence and threats. And because of this Edgar doesn’t want any dialogue that will end violence because it will also end his presidency.
And as long as Edgar continues to benefit from politics of violence we shouldn’t expect any meaningful dialogue with him.
But where will this take us as a nation?
There’s no sensible alternative to dialogue and the removal of causes of dissension if we are to harbour any hope of peaceful elections in 2021.
If we desire peaceful, free and fair elections then we cannot achieve such elections without dialogue. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end.
There will be no peaceful elections that will come out of violent politics.
There is no peace to be found in violence.
Again we ask: what has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created?
And we have to the conclusion: no just cause has ever been stilled by violence. No wrongs have ever been righted by violence.