Even before the Chilanga elections were held, it was apparent that innocent people were going to be attacked, harassed, abused and their civil liberties infringed upon. The expected violence truly materialised. Journalists were brutally attacked and threatened with death. Ordinary citizens were brutalised.
In this aftermath, Zambians are traumatised by the senseless violence emanating especially from the PF. The other petty bourgeois political parties do not want to be left behind. Rhetoric and counter-accusations aside, they are all violent. It is the same people, applying similar methods and the lives of ordinary Zambians have become mere collateral damage.
The escalation of political violence is an entry point towards a state of war. Full-scale war does not start abruptly. It is cumulative. It is a process. It is the failure of reason under a corrupt, undemocratic system that creates the objective conditions for war. In Zambia today, a bunch of petty bourgeois politicians are holding the masses hostage. Their rivalries have nothing to do with humanity, equity and solidarity. They are fighting for the spoils of the capitalist system that keeps our homeland subjugated and highly exploited by international capital. They are fighting for the control of public resources so as to sustain their parasitic existence. For this greedy intention, they are ready to kill.
The violence we experienced in 2016 was a mere dress rehearsal. The 2021 elections will be worse. Many lives will be lost. Any political party able to marshal and execute more acts of violence and intimidated the voters will emerge victorious. This is archaic and a reverse of the normal. The normal condition is that people will turn and vote against acts of violence. However, President Edgar Lungu and his cohorts have effectively applied violence and secured many victories. Violence has now been institutionalised in the electoral process. The average Zambian does not want to be at the receiving end. It is apparent that ordinary people are being intimidated and their resolve to withstand systemic violence is weakened.
For the opposition political parties, appeals to the police and Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) get drowned under their own acts of violence and loud celebratory moods of the victors. The police have become an extended arm of the PF – to the dismay of many officers still hoping to see some professionalism in the service. The opposition political parties will definitely prepare adequately for what is to come. Blows, knives, machetes and even guns will be part of the arsenal punctuated by verbal obscenities A state of war is much closer than we imagine. Many countries that ended up in full-scale war often ignored these obvious signs. We are not behaving differently.
The Socialist Party stands for Justice, Equity and Peace. These are the three pillars of our programme. Peace is a pre-requisite for any meaningful socio-economic developmental. All political parties should ordinarily prioritise it. However, what we see is the complete opposite. The political parties talk peace but behave violently. They do not believe in peace. All talk about peace is a façade meant to blind Zambians. Without violence, they have nothing much to offer. The violence starts with their threatening language; the never ending lies; treachery; physical acts of violence and ends up with counter-accusations plus denial.
In any rational situation, we would have demanded for 1) the nullification of the Chilanga election results; 2) The setting up of a bipartisan commission on political violence that would come up with concrete recommendations for implementation before any other election is held; 3) The resignation of the police command; 4) immediate resignation of President Edgar Lungu and his Minister of Home Affairs. In todays Zambia, however, such demands become naïve and subject to laughter. The moral decay is deep rooted. Nothing short of a revolution will be required to bring back sanity and stop this senseless violence.