‘Violence is violence regardless the perpetrator and recipient’

Joseph Moyo says violence is violence regardless of the perpetrator and, or, the recipient in any society.

“We are saying this because we are seeing a trend of colour coding violence and classifying it on political regalia lines. It’s about red on green or green on red or whatever colour,” he notes.

He says the danger of colour coding violence is that it removes the humanness of the victims into the global view of movements against movements.

He says political groups are ganging against each other forgetting the individuals who suffer violence and the impact it has on their families long after the political contestations are over.

“We now see a trend of your pain is not my pain. Your injustice is not mine. Why? Because we don’t wear same colours or are not from the same enclave,” says Moyo. “When Hakainde Hichilema is attacked, we look the other side because we think he is not one of us. When the ones we think are one of us are attacked, we speak. If I May borrow from my attorney Mr Kelvin Fube Bwalya’s (KBF) slogan, ‘is this the Zambia we want?’”

Both electoral and political violence are sadly becoming more pronounced in our country. This trend if not curtailed will seriously undermine – erode – the essence of multiparty democracy. How can a country that prides itself as a democracy and Christian nation sink so low and reduce political contestation to violence and not ideas? Since when has the prevalence of violence advanced any nation? Certainly there’s need to clean up our politics. Our politicians must go back to the drawing board and instill the philosophy of debating ideas – engaging in the battle of ideas and not physicality! We cannot perpetuate stone age politics and hope to edge our way out of squalor, underdevelopment and indebtedness!

As Martin Luther King Jr aptly put it, “non-violence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilisation and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.[…] I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.”

It is senseless to engage in violence and threats to win political battles. What is obtained violently can only be maintained by violence and intimidation. And those who rise by violence or sword will fall by violence and the sword. This is surely not the way to go for a democratic nation where people must thrive in the market place of ideas, persuasion and consensus. Violence indeed is violence regardless.

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