Habasonda advises youths to reflect on their role in politics
By Staff Reporter
UNIVERSITY of Zambia political science lecturer Lee Habasonda has advised youths in Zambia to reflect seriously on their role in the incidents of political violence in the country as they commemorate the youth day.
In his youth day message, Habasonda says it is difficult to fathom how youth empowerment and democracy will survive in the present situation where Zambian youth are given the position of thugs.
He congratulated the youth for their role in renewing, refreshing and maintaining the current status of “our society, including in leadership, innovations, skills, advances in the evolving technology, education, politics, peace and practising all good values in our country.”
“The concern, though, is the political violence which is being anchored on the Zambian youth. Because of this, there is need for youths in Zambia to reflect seriously on their role in the incidents of political violence in the country,” Habasonda stated.
“Many citizens largely remember the political contribution of the nation’s youth today in terms of the political violence that they cause during elections or other political activities instead of reflecting on how together the Zambian society can help the youth overcome economic and social obstacles.”
Habasonda stated that it was clear that Zambia needed to reshape the socialisation of young people, particularly in politics so that the country could hold on to the political moral campus of non-violence that was held by the founding heroes of this country.
He added that it was saddening that violence had become a tool for political participation and recognition.
“Indeed, it is difficult to fathom how youth empowerment and democracy will survive in the present situation where youth are given the position of thugs and yet they are celebrated and admired in the political sphere,” he stated.
“This attitude sustains political violence in our country and unless drastic steps are taken to stop it, we risk entrenching both the militarisation and criminalisation of Zambian politics. This will in turn undermine Zambia both as a tourist and an investment destination.”
Habasonda added that youth had a duty and responsibility to ensure that such did not happen to Zambia
“They must denounce political sponsors who abuse them,” Habasonda stated.
“Zambia needs to invest in a new political culture which respects and tolerates divergent views and the right to associate freely without fear.”
He stated further that in Zambia today, young people in politics had become so base that they determined the rights which citizens must enjoy, particularly in markets and bus stations.
“This is not an encouraging trend and it is imperative that responsible authorities engage the youth and create more order to allow for sanity. Regular orientation and enlightenment of the youth is more critical now than ever before,” Habasonda stated.
“Youth day is also important to reflect upon because the adults too have a role in their conduct. It is not far from the truth to suggest that the youth have become “sacrificial lambs” for the sustenance of the interests of the country’s political demagogues under the umbrella of “democracy” in which in most cases, youth are given the impression that they are fighting for their rights and yet they are being used to promote individual interests inimical to public good and a peaceful society. The youths must forthwith open up and realise that participating as seeds of violence may be easy now but their own children and grandchildren may reap the tragic effects of such participation.”
Meanwhile, Habasonda stated that the message to young people was that they must be on alert and aware of their actions because “they are targeted as the instruments of perpetuating violence due to their vulnerability to money and other gifts.”
“I urge them to say no to causing harm on another person. Politics is a service for humanity,” stated Habasonda.