OP-ED @ Kwacha Times
WHY DO WE EXPERIENCE POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN STRONGHOLDS OF UPND EACH TIME THERE IS A BY-ELECTION?
Isn’t it strange that, in every area where there is a by-election and is a stronghold of the main opposition party, UPND, there is some sort of violence?
In Chilanga, there was violence. Then UPND vice President, while sharing a podium with Hakainde Hichilema urged his supporters go “Panga For Panga”. HH spoke shortly after GBM but did not reprimand his then deputy for encouraging and promoting violence.
In Sesheke, we all know what happened where, the UPND had running battles with not only the PF itself but with the Police where Hakainde Hichilema claimed that he was chased for hours in the bush by gunmen sponsored by PF. The images, video clips and the reports from the law enforcement agencies actually showed that it is the UPND that ignited that violence but later cried victim.
In Katuba, the cadres of the UPND attacked the officials from the Human Rights Commission as well as Electoral Commission of Zamba (ECZ). Although no major fighting happened between PF and UPND, there were sporadic incidents of violence perpetuated by the UPND.
Today, a life has been lost in Kaoma to violence. Again, according to reports by law enforcement agencies, it is the UPND members who attacked the PF and shot at them, and in defense, some unknown PF member shot a supporter of Hakainde Hichilema.
All these incidents and many other unmentioned here are recorded right in the strongholds of the UPND. When an election is held in a constituency or province where the UPND are weak and others parties are strong, no sort of violence takes place. There was an election in Mansa, Bahati, but there was no trace of violence anywhere. There was an election in Roan and Chipata , and there was no trace of violence there.
This patterns tells us that something is bigger than meets the eye. There is a problem that needs urgent address by the Law enforcement agencies. Yes, the 2021 elections are the last one, which Hakainde Hichilema is going to participate into – that is if he will honor his promise that if he loses, he will step down.
However, it doesn’t need to cost people’s blood for Hakainde to get into state house. If people are killed, whom does Hakainde hope to govern, if he won an election?
Remember, at the time the ECZ delayed to announce results in 2011 and when it was clear Michael Sata won the election – the late PF leader had actually told his people that he will not get into state house by force and that if Rupiah Banda was not going to accept defeat, he was willing to let go of his victory. Can Hakainde emulate Sata? Can Hakainde be like Sata? Of course not.
What is clear from the patterns of violence taking place in strongholds of UPND seems to be intended by the main opposition party. Hakainde and all his supporters must not think they are entitled and deserve to rule this country. They must earn it. Zambians do not owe Hakainde power. He has to fight for it.
Hakainde is trying hard to play a victim game, by sending his cadres to ignite violence then get injured or killed in the process in order to gain political mileage. This very clear for all to see.