Editorial: Unprovoked Attacks on UPND President

We start by quoting Martin Luther King, Jr who once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.

We say this with regard to the startling events of this week and before which have cast a dark shadow on Zambia’s record of human rights violations, political tolerance and adherence to the ‘rule of law’. This week UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his entourage were physically attacked by suspected Patriotic Front cadres in Kasama en route to the Chitimukulu’s palace.

What has prompted our reaction is not one Hichilema or HH as he is popularly known but what appears to be a growing and disturbing pattern of governance or is it misrule or lack of leadership thereof. Opposition leaders and citizen activists have cried out for help to the powers that be but it has conveniently fallen on deaf ears. Much to our chagrin this is not the first time riotous and violent behaviour is being condoned or at worst fanned by the PF leadership whether intra-party or opposition related.

Genuine leaders must be seen to mold and create consensus and not watch idly from their ivory towers desperately hoping things will resolve themselves. Suffice to say here passive acceptance of evil deeds is as good as the perpetration of it, if it is in our power to act and we don’t!

What is distinctly amiss in post UNIP Zambia is a political culture of tolerance of dissenting views, different partisan persuasions and of course regional-cultural political preferences. Such intolerance unrestrained would lead to a total break down in law and order and consequently anarchy of the highest order.

It is surprising to notice how quickly incumbent governments forget they were once in opposition and that the cause for which they fought so hard had to be nurtured in an environment that embraced political tolerance and equality before the law.

It should always be born in the mind that the same power we use today to oppress others is the same power that can be used against us tomorrow. Political office by it’s very nature is momentary in scope but can certainly delude those privileged to govern to think they will govern forever. With power comes responsibility, with greater power comes greater responsibility. Only the biblical kingdom of heaven lays claim to ruling forever.

Let us remember a nation only befits being called a nation when it can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic, partisan, ethnic or tribal concerns to the broader concerns of all it’s nationals. Here we stand!