THE happenings of the recent past where cadres have been fighting each other, storming radio stations and disrupting programmes on air makes very sad reading indeed. It looks like things are getting out of control as these cases are not new.
When I was growing up, I was told that refusing to cooperate with a police officer or just getting physical and manhandling a uniformed policeman when he’s making an arrest is tantamount to humiliating the president. But what we are seeing now is even more appalling. Those of our friends who think that their party gives them special powers and privileges to do as they like now have the audacity to attack a police station and embarrass the head of state just like that. It gets me wondering, ‘If cadres can attack the police, what can they do to a hapless fellow in the streets who happens to hold a different view?’ How safe is the public before and after the 2021 general elections? I shudder to contemplate.
As I continue to wonder, I ask myself: what drives someone to take the law in their own hands and even go to great lengths as to attack a police station? How much are cadres paid for them to risk their lives all in the name of petty politics? What is in it for them? Well, I may not know all the answers, but perhaps the main reason could be poverty and lack of viable opportunities in the country.
If our youths could be in colleges or universities, or if they are busy with other worthy undertakings, I don’t think they’d have time to go and disrupt a radio programme or harass police officers. They do so because cadrerism is work. They are paid with government contracts or residential plots or they are given control of bus stations. Otherwise no right thinking person could endanger their lives for nothing.
When we write about these matters, we want to see every one of us live in peace with our neighbours – regardless of our tribe or political affiliation, whether we agree or disagree. We don’t just criticise. In fact, we mean well and want to see a country of laws and not one governed by hook or crook.
It was therefore gratifying to hear the other day Justice Minister Given Lubinda saying that the government was ready to implement the recommendations from the commission that was set up to look into Voting patterns and Electoral violence in the country. It’s a bitter realisation that before and after every major elections the country is usually gripped in inter-party strife that sometimes end in physical assault or even death. Some of us have been bemoaning this sad state of affairs and we hope that now our fears will be addressed, going by what the minister was saying. But it may be a bit worrying because if I heard him right, minister Lubinda was saying that the recommendations from the commission will have to be ‘aligned’ or incorporated into Bill 10. Now this Bill 10 is the proposed act that has split the country for and against it. I’m just wondering how possible a controversial bill will help to stem down electoral violence and change our regional voting pattern. I look forward to a time when political parties tamed their cadres and government became firm and resolute in matters of electoral violence.
We’ll leave it here for today and hope that the government means well. We pray that once the recommendations are implemented, we shall be more tolerant to one another and make the One Zambia, One Nation motto a reality.
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