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A violent welcome greets Kambwili

Ugly scenes of bloody intraparty violence marred Chishimba Kambwili’s return to the ruling Patriotic Front on Saturday. Party renegade Innocent Kalimanshi was at the receiving end of a savage attack that rendered him a ‘stretcher case’ and his Ford Ranger was damaged beyond recognition.

All was well and peaceful as hordes of beefy cadres along with an all-women choir treated waiting crowds to some song and dance and running commentary.

Kambwili made a grand entry into the PF secretariat around 10:10 hours and instantly sent the gathering into cheers, ululations and “Imbwili” chants.

He was met by Lusaka Province PF chairman Kennedy Kamba and national mobilisation chairman Richard Musukwa who clasped him in fond embraces before ushering the former NDC leader into the offices.

As soon as Kambwili and his hosts vanished from sight, hell broke loose. Kalimanshi’s vehicle, which was trailing Kambwili’s, was blocked from entering by cadres who were angry that he had been hurling insults on their party leadership. But Kalimanshi ignored the instructions and sped into the premises, angering his fellow cadres who responded with violence. Without his ‘Embenenzer’ singing ensemble to protect him, Kalimanshi was plucked off the drivers’ seat for a free-for-all beating.

Helpless, Kalimanshi was juggled amongst the cadres with slaps, kicks, fists and knuckles. Cadres that were not close enough to punch or kick Kalimanshi threw missiles in his direction, some of which landed on waiting journalists and triggering a run-for-life scamper. As the mob competed to ‘knock out’ Kalimanshi’s teeth, others thought iron bars would do the job. It had to take Kamba to ‘fly down’ the stairs of the double-story building to save Kalimanshi. Seeing that his screaming orders to the cadres to cease the violence were not working, Kamba threw himself in the melee and personally dragged Kalimanshi to safety in the offices. The cadres then turned their anger on Kalimanshi’s vehicle, smashing its windows and slashing all its tyres. Two journalists Nancy Malwele and Francis Maingaila were injured in the fracas.

As we have stated on numerous occasions, it was just a matter of time before Kambwili renewed his membership with PF. He never left. He was hounded out. It actually took Speaker Patrick Matibini to withdraw his recognition as Roan PF member of parliament – that’s when Kambwili publicly accepted he was an NDC member and become the party’s president! He’s back home now and we can only watch the space as he unleashes verbose on those he not so long ago wined and dined with.

But while Kambwili has exercised his right to return where he actually belongs, it is the violence which should concern all. The PF are now executing violence both within and outside the party. This is the real situation. And violence of the mouth they practice with same intensity physically. Sadly, there’s no repudiation from above and this must worry the nation as we head towards elections. Where and when does this stop? When is the party, PF, going to put a stop to this violence that can easily become uncontrollable?

As Bob Marley warned in his reggae song, Real Situation – “Check out the Real situation:
Nation war against nation.
Where did it all begin?
When will it end?
Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution
And there ain’t no use: no one can stop them now.
Ain’t no use: nobody can stop them now.

Give them an inch, they take a yard
Give them a yard, they take a mile (ooh)
Once a man and twice a child
And everything is just for a while.
It seems like: total destruction the only solution
And there ain’t no use: no one can stop them now.
There ain’t no use: no one can stop them now
Ain’t no use: no one can stop them now

There ain’t no use: no one can stop them now.

Check in the Real situation (check it out, check it out):
Nation fight against nation
Where did it all begin? Wo-oo-o-o-oh!
Where will it end?
Well, it seems like: total destruction the only solution.
Mmm, no use: can’t stop them
W’ain’t no use: ya can’t stop them

Ain’t no use: no one can’t stop them now
Can’t stop them now (no one can’t stop them now).

There ain’t no use: no one can’t stop them now.
Everybody strugglin’: ain’t no use – ain’t no use -
Ain’t no use you even try
Ain’t no use: got to say ‘bye-‘bye!
Ain’t no use! Ain’t no – ain’t no use: no one can stop them now…”

Violence is the main identity PF has carried even under their founding leader Michael Sata. In fact, it is a seed that Sata himself planted in the party and bequeathed to his followers. Sata never denounced violence in the PF. To the contrary, he enjoyed it. Edgar Lungu has just multiplied this seed of violence, which is now consuming the PF. And looking back in history we can confidently say that this violence will one day catch up with Edgar himself. He may be enjoying it now since he is at the apex of the party, but when he leaves the echelons the same cadres he is setting against each other and on others will certainly descend on him.

This is an awakening moment for all those in doubt about the character of our ruling party. If they still have confidence in the PF, then a bloodier season awaits this nation.

Will the opposition, critical civil society organisations, and other citizens be spared by this brutality?

Violence has indeed welcomed the ‘leopard’s return to its habitat!

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