By Gershom Ndhlovu
“Let us crush them,” an MMD official is quoted in a TV news clip of one of Zambia’s TV channels in reference to opposition Patriotic Front (PF) members who are going about their business campaigning for their party for the forthcoming September 20 tripartite elections that will include presidential, parliamentary and local government polls.
The irony of it all is that the unidentified official made the statement in a police station where the Lusaka Province MMD chairman, William Banda was summoned for interviews for violence which had occurred in Chongwe district, 40 km outside the capital city.
In Chongwe, at the alleged instigation of William Banda, a former UNIP stalwart who used to harass MMD members when they were in opposition in the early 1990s and was later deported by President Chiluba, ordered the beating up of the villagers apparently because they supported the PF candidate and former MMD MP Sylvia Masebo.
A few weeks earlier the PF through its secretary general, Winter Kabimba who is a lawyer, had issued instructions to his members to defend themselves from acts of violence perpetrated against them by members of other political parties.
In the last few weeks, a Facebook group called Zambian Peoples Pact, a forum on which netizens discuss political issues especially those pertaining to the forthcoming elections, launched a petition against violence before, during and after elections.
But with the unfolding events in the country, it seems International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be busy with indictments of Zambian politicians after the elections if President Rupiah Banda and his security apparatus do not restrain, even stop, the marauding MMD cadres and others bent on promoting violence.