IT was befitting that President Edgar Lungu attended the burial in Solwezi yesterday of Mr Jackson Kungo, the Patriotic Front’s North-Western Province killed on election day by UPND cadres. It is equally befitting that the President-elect, Mr Hakainde Hichilema has also condemned in the strongest terms the gruesome murder of Mr Kungo.
Mr Kungo was killed in the most brutal and barbaric manner never experienced before or during elections since the country’s independence. His death should not be in vain but remind the country’s body politic that logic, reasoning and informed decisions should prevail over mob psychology.
Mr. Kungo 39, was brutally murdered at Kyawama Polling Station on Thursday, August 12, 2021 by suspected UPND cadres on the pretext that he was in possession of pre-marked ballot papers. Police however did not find anything after searching Mr Kungo’s body.
Mr Kungo paid with his life for merely being a member of the Patriotic Front. Elections are about making choices on public policy issues and not by mob psychology.
President-elect Hichilema, in a message of solidarity on the burial of Mr Kungo said the barbaric circumstances of the killing of Mr Kungo by criminal elements who attacked him is unacceptable.
We agree with Mr Hichilema that 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.
Mr Kungo’s death should also remind Zambians to change the way politics are taken in the country. While Mr Kungo died from physical battering, it must not be denied that there is also psychological persecution that must not be encouraged or allowed to continue in the country.
Former President Frederick Chiluba was tortured psychologically through purported corruption charges. He was acquitted but the mental anguish he went through affected his health and contributed to his death.
President Rupiah Banda, who succeeded late President Levy Mwanawasa suffered a similar fate of being falsely accused of corrupt practices. He too was acquitted and thankfully, he is alive. It is important that the new administration should draw lessons from the past and heed the wise counsel from Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni.
Mpezeni said prosecuting PF officials now will be tantamount to a witch-hunt intended to demonise the previous government. Paramount Chief Mpezeni urged the UPND administration not pay attention to people calling for the prosecution of PF officials for the perceived criminal activities as doing so would rob the nation of a focused leadership. And Zambians should be grateful to RB that he was able to bring President Lungu and President-elect Hichilema together and the picture of the two men laughing together helped ease tension in the country.
It is in this vein that President Lungu must also be commended that he refused to petition the August 12 elections despite the violence that prevailed so as to ensure there was peace in the nation. President Lungu said he did not want the tension that happened in 2016 to repeat itself this year.
The President said he cherished the people of Zambia, therefore, there is need for peace to prevail in the country. Peace is an attribute that Zambians should never take for granted. Elections have passed, but life must go on under the “One Zambia, One Nation.” Mr Kungo’s death therefore should unite Zambians and remind them that they are children of one country despite their political differences.