THE lawlessness that has been reported in Lusaka’s Kamwala trading area must be nipped in the bud before it gets out of control.
It is even more disturbing that the perpetrators are said to be members of the United Party for National Development (UPND.
The suspected UPND cadres have allegedly been going round closing shops they claim are owned by members of the Patriotic Front.
This is clearly a breach of the constitution as there is no provision that discriminates on political grounds who should be in business.
We hope the police will not sit with arms akimbo and watch the nonsense, but will move in swiftly and take these rogue UPND cadres to task.
Zambia Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said that the police would not tolerate lawlessness and that anyone found wanting would not go scot-free.
Mr Hamoonga said the police would crack the whip on the suspected UPND cadres who had locked up shops on grounds that they belonged to the Patriotic Front.
It is even surprising that the behaviour of the UPND cadres is coming shortly after the Kabwata parliamentary by-election which was won by their candidate, Mr Andrew Tayengwa.
We wonder what the motive of the cadres is, if not just being mischievous, and embarrassing their party leadership in the mistaken belief that they are strengthening the UPND.
It is regrettable that the UPND cadres, instead of building their party are maligning those they should be trying to recruit and increase their membership.
It is sad that they have engaged in petty politics of trying to weed out from trading places anyone they think does not belong to their party.
This is clearly going against the policy directives of the top UPND leadership, led by President Hakainde Hichilema who have declared that markets and other public facilities must be free of politics.
These should be places where all Zambians must be free to mingle without fear of political intimidation.
The UPND cadres ought to be reminded that they are the same people who accused the former ruling PF of entrenching cadrerism in markets and bus stations.
And one of the first things that Mr Hichilema declared on being elected as the country’s seventh President was to announce that his new administration would not entertain political intimidation in public places.
We hope therefore that those who have been attacked in Kamwala should help the police by reporting the culprits so that action could be taken against them.
As Mr Hamoonga said, this was however dependent on people coming forward and telling the relevant authorities about the matter.
Political thuggery would not end if those at the receiving end remain mute for fear of victimization. It must be fought head on by reporting to the law enforcement officers.
We realise that many people have lost confidence in the Police Service to act when UPND cadres are involved as has been seen in a number of incidences around the country.
But even then, it is better to make a formal complaint for it remains on record should the police fail to act.