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IT is good that the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) has taken responsibility and apologised for the harassment of the country’s sixth President, Mr Edgar Lungu in Mambwe at the weekend.

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That is the maturity that is expected of all political leaders, to take responsibility of any shortcomings or transgressions of their members instead of passing the buck.

UPND Spokesperson Cornellius Mweetwa yesterday made a public apology to the former president over the attacks and verbal abuse he went through over the weekend at the hands of their cadres when he attended the Malaila traditional ceremony of the Kunda people in Mambwe.

While some ministers and even the police have tried to downplay the incident as though it never happened, Mr Mweetwa has admitted that Mr Lungu was attacked by the UPND cadres.

He said the ruling party leadership is deeply sorry for the misconduct by individuals who represented themselves as UPND cadres despite not having the blessings of the party.

Mr Mweetwa said the UPND should be blamed for the unruly conduct of its cadres, stating: “We cannot blame anyone but us over their actions because the buck stops at us.”

Mr Mweetwa has demonstrated leadership that must be emulated across the political divide.  If anything, the onus is on the governing party to be an example on how to behave in a multi-party dispensation.

The UPND is now in the driving seat and whatever its foot soldiers do will reflect on the top leadership.

As Mr Mweetwa noted, the buck stops at the UPND for what transpired at the Malaila traditional ceremony is in the public domain that no one should defend.  Its leaders at the scene did not even make any attempt to dissuade the unruly cadres.

Confusion reigned at the Malaila traditional ceremony in Mambwe on Saturday after UPND cadres harassed Mr Lungu, broke chairs, tables and harangued onlookers in an attempt to eject him from the main arena.

The cadres emerged from the shadows soon after the former President arrived at the arena of the Malaila ceremony, shouting invectives and demanding that he should leave the traditional ceremony.

Eastern Province Minister Peter Phiri while confirming the attack claimed it was done by some unknown angry youths.

Inspector General of Police Graphael Musamba when told about the attacks on the former President described the assertions as nothing but an exaggerated rumour.

Yes, there could be bad blood between the country’s two biggest political parties, but that does not warrant unending violence.

According to Mr Mweetwa, he had received a call from one of the individuals from Malambo who informed him that the attack was some form of revenge for what President Hakainde Hichilema had gone through while in opposition.

He however said President Hichilema had forgiven former President Lungu for all the violence committed by the Patriotic Front while it was in power.

That spirit of forgiveness should trickle down to the foot soldiers for the nation needs to heal from the violent past and a traditional ceremony should be free of partisan politics.



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