Lungu can stop political violence if he wanted to – Laura Miti

By Staff Reporter

ACTIVIST Laura Miti says the current political violence country, especially during by-elections is systemic, which is planned, implemented and funded by political leaders.

Meanwhile, Miti who is Alliance for Community Action executive director has wondered why the government does not stand up in defence of Tongas from tribal sentiments the way it has swiftly defended a man of Indian origin who was allegedly racially abused by Chishimba Kambwili.

Featuring on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday night Miti said the onus of stopping the political violence lies on President Edgar Lungu as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces without having any need to refer the matter for national dialogue.

“It is planned, it is implemented, it is funded. If the President wanted to end violence, he could end it tomorrow,” Miti noted.

“So, I worry when we approach political violence from the point of view that people must dialogue. No! Political violence is a crime. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that right now we have PF thugs who are probably being armed, getting into vehicles going to Bahati. There are also UPND cadres being armed going to Bahati!”

She asked if anyone knew how ridiculous it was to pray that political violence stops.

“You do not have to talk about it; you can actually end it. If President Lungu, minister Kampyongo, IG Kanganja do not want violence in Bahati, there will be no violence in Bahati. If they didn’t want violence in Sesheke, they would have prevented that violence,” stressed Miti.

“How is it impossible to prevent well known thugs from getting into cars to go to Sesheke? Who has fuelled those cars? Who has paid their allowances? Who has fed them there? If our special branch does not know that, then they are a waste to the treasury. They do know! If minister Kampyongo does not know who is causing violence, he should resign because it is extremely embarrassing….”

Last week, National Democratic Congress (NDC) consultant Kambwili told off a man believed to be of Indian origin he found operating a compactor in Lusaka, demanding that he goes back to India because there were so many Zambians without jobs who could do the job he was doing.

Quickly, information minister Dora Siliya accused Kambwili of practising racism and xenophobia and warned that the Roan PF member of parliament could be arrested for abrogating the penal code.

As per Siliya’s ‘prediction,’ Kambwili was last Friday summoned by Lusaka police to appear at police station yesterday where he was arrested and denied police bond.

Commenting on the matter, Miti said she kept on saying if the PF government or the police were “really sure that they do not want hate speech, we should see it first on the tribal division on this country.”

“Then I would not think it’s (Kambwili’s arrest) politically-motivated. My major issue is the way this country has been divided down the middle!”.

She clarified that she did not “really worry” about tribal sentiments against UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema made by various people.

“It is wrong, it is disturbing! But HH can protect himself. [But] what worries me is the ordinary Mutinta Habasonda who knows nothing and is in Monze in the field and then you hate her. That is what worries me. So, it’s not even [about] those up there in politics but that we have taught each other to hate ordinary people who have done nothing,” Miti complained.

“My issue is, until I hear the PF, people in power begin to say no and not to use tribal sentiments…. What is even sad is that tribal sentiments are sometimes very understated; it’s statements like voting patterns.”

She wondered further why issues of voting patterns only came into play when they were in Southern Province.

“You have whole constituencies voting one way in the north and nobody raises issues about it! So, for me I just feel that we must not allow a situation in which an ordinary citizen who has done nothing against you is bundled together with a particular political leader because it advances your own political strategies,” Miti indicated.

Miti added that one of Zambia’s “greatest sins” of the last five, six years was tribal division, amid conspicuous silence of those who were not affected.

“The silence of people like myself who happens to be a Miti; because I’m a Miti, I can do what I want, I can say certain things that a person who is a Tonga cannot! It wasn’t like that seven years ago. How did the Tongas suddenly become bad people? Someone taught us!” she said.

“As a country, if we are able stand up in defence of someone who is from outside the country, why have we failed to defend people who have done nothing other than be of the same tribe of someone who happens to be in the political arena? Fight in the political arena but do not vilify people who have done nothing to you.”