Violence erupts in Sesheke again, voters abandon voting
By Staff Reporter
Violence has erupted in Sesheke again following a crush between ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres leaving five heavily injured.
And Socialist Party (SP) says the violence being witnessed in Zambia’s by-election will escalate because the current political playing field is not level.
Police fired teargas forcing voters to abandon voting and withdrew into their respective villages.
According to eyewitnesses, there was violent scenes between PF and UPND cadres around 08:00 as the opposition group was returning from a polling station to cast their votes.
Five people have been arrested in the connection with the violence.
SP member Faston Mwale, says capitalism in its present form was besieged with internal contradictions, some of which are manifested in the violence being witnessed today.
In a statement obtained by newsdayzambia.com, Mwale says, “the ruthless competition for power that manifests itself in extreme forms of violence that usually precede by-elections in our country is not propelled by natural circumstances but is consciously planned in board rooms and assigned to implementing agents who are usually thugs. Political violence is thus, not just ordinary violence about political regalia, about cadres masquerading as police officers and so forth but it has a class context”.
He said whilst it is known that multiparty politics is about competition, it was equally important to note that there was need to seek shared solutions to problems that have affected the country and its citizens.
“However, what we see each time there is by election is the worst form of brutal treatment among contenders for political offices and sadly the brutality extends to citizens whose only crime is to be residents in the areas where the by-election has been occasioned,” he said, adding that “there is no shred of doubt in my mind that if no solutions are found to address the cause of political violence there stands a chance that one day it will escalate into an outright war”.
Mwale said the events obtaining in Sesheke parliamentary election are a cause of grave concern because the logic of the violence being perpetrated is calculated to intimidate the voters and force them to succumb to the dictates of the aggressor.
“I dare say without fear of contradiction that an electoral success procured under an environment of widespread chaos and strife raises questions of legitimacy,” he declared. “Elections in Zambia have become highly opportunistic, as a consequence of that political campaigns no longer offer a mature platform for political discourse that prioritises themes on human needs like, food, shelter, primary health services education but are an occasion of trading hostilities of all kinds between the opposition United Party for National Development UPND and the ruling Patriotic Front”.
He said traits being exhibited are embedded in the cells of neo liberal form of production where relations are mediated by money and a leadership that is bred and groomed under the values of capital will always be at variance with the needs of the masses.
“The brand of capitalism that we live in today is ruthlessly violent. Unless and until the people make a conscious decision to begin to realise that capitalism is a system that endorses violence, they will continue to be foolish victims of deception. The exploitative nature of capitalism cannot be resolved but must be by just wishing it away but must be consciously contested, challenged and abashed,” he said.
Meanwhile, opposition People Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda has condemned the violence perpetrated by the PF and the UPND in the Sesheke by-election saying people were in urgent need of another political alternative.
Banda said his party was an alternative to the kind of politics currently being practiced in Zambia and that being part of the alliance did not mean they supported an ideology of one party.
“This violence is not about our passion for this country but competition to merely outdo each other. It’s got nothing to do with development but everything to do with greediness, selfishness among these political parties,” he said.
He appealed to President Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema to institute internal restructuring to ensure that there were minimum levels of tolerance.