No amount of dialogue amongst political parties, court litigations, police interventions or moral suasion will stop political violence in a periphery, capitalist country like ours. The capitalist ideology we have embraced over the past 25 years breeds high levels of inequity, class injustices and greed. All these are factors that produce and continue to reproduce political violence.
Zambia today has on the one hand an economy that mercilessly exploits the working masses and subjects them to slave-like existence; and on the other hand the emergence of a new generation of politicians that seeks state power for self-enrichment. There is absolutely no room for national unity, class solidarity or unity of purpose as a nation. Violence becomes a means to end but also an end in itself. Violence is therefore ingrained in the DNA of highly unequal societies.
No single political party has a monopoly over violence. Though our petty-bourgeois politicians blame individual cadres, but, in truth, political violence in our society reflects the wider social-economic decay brought about by capitalism. Violence is emanating from a system that preaches individualism instead equity, greed instead selflessness, arrogance instead of humility and hate instead of love. We can vote the PF out of power this year and replace it with an opposition political party, but violence will not go away as long as neo-liberal capitalism remains the foundation of our economic system. The PF has not invented political violence; it inherited it and is merely pushing it up to higher levels.
Neo-liberal capitalist political parties in highly unequal societies like Zambia have neither the ideological basis nor incentive to decisively contain violence. Such parties need institutionalized violence to sustain their rule against citizens being driven into misery as well as ensure that all forms of dissenting views are stifled. They are also highly opportunistic in dealing with individual perpetrators of violence. They actually need and facilitate such perpetrators for the sake of instilling fear amongst their perceived political enemies. Quite often, the lines between legitimate state actions and criminal undertakings become blurred. Well-known criminal elements are celebrated and embraced by those in power. This is happening in Zambia as well as in many other poor countries that have chosen the road to hell through capitalism.