The Matero Fracas was predictable. It is an end result of a sequence of events under which the PF government tolerated and even facilitated violence of its cadres against opposition party supporters. The police and other internal security services have been systematically compromised to a level where their behaviour is no longer deemed different from that of the PF cadres. It is a development that endangers the lives of our police officers. As the Matero incident indicates, a compromised police service cannot wield authority over an angry mass of people. Police work is made very difficult and the lives of the men and women in uniform are at immense risk.
The PF carders’ attack of UPND supporters is highly unacceptable. It raises questions as to the usefulness of all the high-level meetings that resolved and committed to ending political violence in our homeland. If the PF leadership is genuine about ending political violence how do we still end up with the impunity its cadres showed in Matero? The perception one draws out of this is that the PF leadership is either still tolerating and facilitating political violence or has completely lost control over its cadres.
The latter would mean it is unable to contain a monster that it created, one that is now destructively self-driven. This is not helping the political cause of the PF and that of President Lungu. It is alienating the PF from the masses of our people and expediting its exit from government.
The reaction of the UPND youth to the PF attack, though not to be encouraged, stems from years of experience of being at the receiving end. Our memories are still vivid of the police and MMD cadres physically abusing UPND supporters and leaders. The violence meted on the UPND continued even under the PF government. HH and his team can write books on the pain and torture inflicted on them over a decade. However, the UPND of a decade ago is different from that of today. It has learnt how to resist and fight back. It has amongst its ranks tested and tough looking young men and women whose job is just to provide security to its leadership. The PF cadres and police in Matero seemed to have been oblivious to this fact. The UPND is no longer an innocent and defenceless entity – it has cadres that can fight back and will increasingly become violent overtime.
The scenes of Matero should not be allowed to continue defining the Zambian political landscape. These are ugly and brutal scenes that do not make political sense. Our homeland cannot benefit from this type of political violence. Neither will any political party. In the Rainbow Party we abhor this form of political violence and actively pursue peaceful means to attaining our socialist goals. The working masses and the poor in society are the biggest losers of any politically instigated violence. No single life of a Zambian worker, peasant, student, police officer or ordinary citizen is therefore worthy the sacrifice.