IT is always important to admit one’s weaknesses so as to emerge stronger. Pretending that a problem does not exist when facts indicate otherwise is a sure way to failure.
It is therefore important for the United Party for National Development (UPND) to admit and realise that the much-despised caderism is still rife.
We find it strange that the UPND spokesperson, Mr Cornelius Mweetwa claims that those cadres who were taken to the police in Lusaka by drivers working for Flash Buses owned by Capital Buses, do not belong to the party.
Mr Mweetwa said that those who were arrested had no blessings of the party, in fact they were just masqueraders who wanted to tarnish its image.
The drivers on Wednesday effected a citizen arrest on two cadres who were trying to extort money from them.
This was after the cadres assaulted drivers who resisted their demands for money.
Mr Mweetwa said the cadres who were collecting money from the streets of Lusaka are not their members and are trying to use criminality in the guise of the party.
We want to remind Mr Mweetwa that even when the Patriotic Front was in government, it never admitted that its cadres were involved in lawless acts like extorting money from marketeers and bus drivers.
The PF turned a blind eye to what its cadres were doing, and the UPND appears to be doing the same.
Mr Mweetwa claims there was metamorphosis at play and that some cadres that were in the PF had now changed to UPND colours.
“Genuine UPND supporters have heard the President’s call to stay away from criminality like harassing people in markets and bus stops,” he said.
But the same “genuine UPND” supporters are the same ones who were reported to President Hakainde Hichilema by marketeers and bus drivers in Lusaka’s Munyaule area earlier this week.
President Hakainde Hichilema had this brought to his attention at Munyaule Market in Lusaka during an impromptu meeting with marketeers and bus drivers.
The marketers and bus drivers complained to the Head of State that some UPND cadres have started charging money and harassing traders at Munyaule market.
And as we noted yesterday, President Hichilema to his credit did not defend the unruly cadres but assured the marketeers and bus drivers that no cadre will be allowed to collect money at bus stations and markets.
The menace caused by cadres will not be solved overnight such that the UPND can boast that is has ended caderism from markets and bus stations.
There are still elements of caderism being observed at bus stations and marketeers. To the cadres, being in control is the culmination of having won the August 12, 2021 tripartite elections.
It was to end PF domination and transfer it to the new party in government.
Yet, President Hichilema was emphatic shortly after scooping the elections that the UPND will not allow any caderism at markets and bus stations and that the public facilities will be run by the local authorities.
We therefore implore Mr Mweetwa to get on the ground and confront the rogue members of the UPND that it is either they must change or find themselves divorced from the party.
He must also realise that no one wants to see any political cadres playing any role at markets or bus stations apart from the council employees.