The Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says President Edgar Lungu must acknowledge the growing political tension in the country and show leadership by initiating open dialogue with the opposition.
And NGOCC says the violence that took place at the Leopards Hill Memorial Park during a burial procession last week between UPND and PF cadres, was a typical indication that there was deeper political tension that had engulfed the country since the August 11, 2016 general elections.
In a statement, NGOCC chairperson Sera Longwe condemned the “barbaric and thuggish” behavior exhibited by cadres from the two political parties and called the President to intervene.
“The Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) is deeply saddened and concerned with the barbaric and thuggish behavior exhibited during a burial procession on 24th June 2017 at Leopards Hill Memorial Park between party cadres of the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United National Development (UPND),” Longwe said.
“The violence that ensued at the graveyard is typical and symptomatic of a deeper political tension that has engulfed our country since the August 11, 2016 general elections. It is folly for the Government to continue to deny that there is a crisis in the country when the party cadres can attack mourners at a graveyard just because they belong to different political parties.”
Longwe noted that there was need for President Lungu to acknowledge the growing tension in the country and immediately deal with it by initiating open dialogue with opposition political party leaders.
“There is an urgent need for the Republican President Edgar Lungu to put a stop to this barbaric behavior by party cadres. President Lungu needs to acknowledge the growing political tension in the country. The President must show leadership and immediately initiate open dialogue with the opposition, in the greater interest of the country,” she said.
Longwe observed that the Presidents’ continued silence and lack of action on the ongoing violence was worsening it.
“The President’s continuing silence and inaction on this matter of tension is leaving the door open for continued and worsening violence. It is the prime responsibility of the Government, rather than opposition political parties, to use the instruments of governance to maintain peace and democratic harmony in the country,” stated Longwe.
“NGOCC is particularly concerned that these violent confrontations endanger women and children, who are the worst affected and least able to defend themselves. We insist that the government listens to the recent moral guidance and reason from the church and civil society on the restoration of peace and national unity in the country.”