Black Friday attack at Matero Church

The event today at Bible Study Church of Africa (BIGOCA) where thugs suspected to be from the ruling party – Patriotic Front (PF) stormed the church and beat up people protesting against high living cost due to removal of subsidies is the worst governance thing to have happened in the history of Zambia since 1964 when the country attained self-rule.

Leaders from the Church and Civil Society have declared a campaign they call Black Friday against the PF government’s decision to remove subsidies in fuel and maize. The campaign involves people dressing in black every Friday. Today a gathering was called at BIGOCA in Matero where suspected ruling party supporters attacked congregants that included Members of the Press.

We are saddened with this growing violence orchestrated by supporters of the Patriotic Front government who are behaving like animals. This is the third incidence when these thugs have on broad day light attacked innocent Zambians trying to assemble to express their right as granted by the country’s constitution.

Machetes armed thugs with stones and all sorts weapons invaded the venue of the opposition UPND’s rally in Kabwata Township early this year and attacked people who were turning up for the meeting.

The second incidence was last week when these thugs attacked leader of the opposition MMD, Nevers Mumba and his team who were trying to catch a bus at City Market to go to Kanyama. Mumba had to escape lynching from these thugs who claimed that he wanted to cause confusion by explaining the effects of the removal of subsidies to the people in Kanyama. MMD Youth leader Bowman Lusambo was abducted by these armed thugs to an isolated place where he was forced to apologize to Michael Sata for having a divergent view from the PF.

Despite that some of these people have been identified like in the case of Kabwata where pictures were published of these thugs with chains and stones no arrests have been effected. In the Lusambo saga, the PF Youth leader for Lusaka province Kennedy Kamba publicly stated that he rescued the MMD leader from the thugs. Lusambo said Kamba was armed with a gun during the incidence but to date there has been no arrests.

People are being attacked in the full-view of the Police who are supposed to protect all citizens regardless of their political, religious or social status because that is what they are employed and paid for. The Police is setting a bad precedence that one can commit crime as long as he or she is a member of the ruling party.

Where then will the citizen run to if they cannot get protection from the Police? Do the Police want citizens to find their own means of protecting themselves? What is the Police therefore then? Why should they continue drawing a salary if their role is just to protect members of the ruling party? We challenge the Police Command to serious reflect on their conduct and to stop this barbaric behavour by these thugs that can put this country on fire.

The PF and its leadership must understand that violence bleeds violence. We repeat, the barbaric incidence at BIGOCA Church in Matero today is the worst thing ever to happen. It is so sad that these suspected sponsored thugs had the guts of storming the House of God to beat up Men of the Pulpit and other congregants just because they have different views.

This is unacceptable and the PF must be ashamed that such a thing is happening during their reign. Not even during the one-party-rule of Kenneth Kaunda did Zambia witness such. How can PF and its Police explain and defend what happened at Matero Church today? Does it now mean that we are nolonger free in our own country?

Edgar Lungu as Acting President and Minister In-Charge of Internal Security must ensure that these thugs that attacked the church are caged and made to answer for this crime. Only condemning this barbaric act will not do, these thugs must be caged. Lungu must show leadership and exercise authority not only for the sake of his name or government but for the sake of security of the nation.

PF must realize that there are nolonger in opposition but in government mandated to protect all citizens including those who do not agree or support them. Its high time they realized that if they are not careful they will plunge this country into turmoil. This government has done little to offer protection to its citizen. Several times the opposition has to restrain to avoid shedding blood but for how long? How do you explain the incidence in Chawama on Sunday where suspected PF cadres armed had to camp at the venue the UPND was supposed to have held a rally? What could have happened if UPND went ahead?

It seems politicians never learn. We thought there were lessons learnt in 2011 after the MMD was voted out of power against all odds. MMD employed all kinds of tactics including violence but the people rose and showed MMD the door. Some people who were committing crimes with a view that whatever the case MMD would retain power had to go into hiding.

We want to remind these thugs being used to commit crimes that judgement day is coming. Those using you will not stand with you. It will be you and you alone to explain your atrocities. This warning goes to the PF leaders and Police that whatever you do today just know that one day you will be made to account.

Sata has a responsibility to maintain peace that Zambia has enjoyed since Independence. This is not the era where you rule with an iron fist. Its a different era, an era of divergent views where you differ but still live together.

The once most powerful man Rupiah Banda, Zambia’s fourth president is facing trial. It is sad to see the man who used to be at the helm of the country sit in the dock for allegations of misrule. Today Banda’s Aides are the ones coming to testify against him. This is a good a lesson for Sata and it will be sad to see him go through the same.

We urge the PF leadership and Michael Sata to halt these violence immediately and create a conducive environment for all citizens. We don’t want to see what happened at Matero Church again. It has dented the image of the country. Mr. President, you swore in to protect the constitution which protects all citizens and not just members your party. Matero church attack story here.