ZAMBIANS must indeed be proud of themselves for once again showing the world, and Africa in particular what democracy is all about. The peaceful change of leadership from one political party to another is an attribute that makes Zambians a unique people.
Zambians have just voted into office Mr Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), defeating a sitting President, Mr Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front. Quite clearly, the demand for change carried the day. And it is likely that Covid-19 and its devastating effects on the economy resonated well with calls for change. It created fertile ground for despair among the citizenry as it resulted in job losses and a steep rise in the cost of living.
Mr Hichilema has a mammoth task to bring fruition to the hopes of a population in despair arising from the high cost of living and soaring unemployment among the youth. In this vein therefore, we call on the leadership of the UPND to put a stop to the continued lawlessness of its cadres seeking vengeance on PF members or sympathisers.
They must instil discipline at the grassroots. It should not gloss over the reported harassment against those belonging to the losing party. It would not be sending the right signal to the nation whose sole attention now must be to ensure that peace prevails. There should be no retribution against perceived losers, in particular PF members.
What has been happening in several areas in Lusaka at bus stations, markets and even street trading slots is unaccepted. The Green terror has been replaced by Red terror. It is even more disappointing that some officials of the PF are in hiding and are not sleeping at their homes.
They are insecure because the UPND “victorious cadres” want to sort them out. In Lusaka for example, the PF Roma Ward chairperson Mr Felix Mushitu was not only forcibly abducted from his home, he was also robbed by suspected UPND cadres. While top officials are talking about reconciling with the vanquished, the cadres on the ground are unleashing a reign of terror.
Their conduct is in stark contrast with what the President-elect Hichilema and other senior party officials have been preaching about. President-elect Hichilema has set a reconciliatory tone as he stressed in his message of condolences to the PF during the burial of the North-Western Province chairman Mr Jackson Kungo killed on elections day by UPND cadres in cold blood.
Mr Hichilema said in a democratic dispensation, political diversity and affiliation was a part of the way of life of Zambians. “We cannot afford to distinguish or separate each other as political players based on the colour of our regalia, neither must we allow hate to the extent of killing each other because we differ in political ideology, after all, we are all brothers and sisters born of mother Zambia,” said Mr Hichilema. The August 12 elections are over and Zambians must embrace one another as brothers and sisters and not resort to violence. Every Zambian must feel secure and enjoy one’s rights.