Lusaka Province UPND chairman Obvious Mwaliteta says Stephen Kampyongo should not share the blame for political violence in the country with opposition parties, saying he has powers to stop political violence as Minister of Home Affairs.
When he appeared on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Kampyongo observed that importation of cadres to areas where elections were taking place was the root cause of political violence in the country, and that the UPND and PF were both guilty of the vice.
But in an interview with News Diggers! Mwaliteta argued that the UPND had never incited violence, and that the party would only ferry its cadres to election areas whenever party members had been attacked by PF cadres.
“Honourable Kampyongo should not even talk about the opposition! He should talk about PF and his position as Minister of Home Affairs, he’s got all the powers. Honestly, if PF cadres are not being loaded with pangas going to Sesheke, why should UPND go and defend its cadres? They won’t go there. But it’s because PF cadres already know that their youth chairman is there so they need to go and give solidarity and show him that they can beat! So, this is why it happens. But my appeal to my brother, Hon Kampyongo; the people of Zambia have talked too much about his position; they have condemned him here and there, no one talks good about him. Some of us who are friends with him would want to advise him that for once, let him just look upright. He’s got all the powers to stop the violence,” Mwaliteta said.
“The violence occurring everywhere in Zambia is traumatising people. When you go to Sesheke today, people there are still traumatised with those teargases that they experienced. So, he (Kampyongo) should not go and start firefighting there. He should prevent it, prevention is better than cure. Right now, we have Bahati by-elections coming up, it’s up to him to say ‘no cadres from Lusaka, Copperbelt, no jerabos will be found in Bahati and no violence will be tolerated, whether from PF or UPND or from any other political party’ and there won’t be any violence. But the problem is that the people who are supposed to check that there is no violence, when they are asked to stop violence, they are being fired. So, I don’t know which people he’s going to direct to stop violence. If the violence comes from PF, then they will not do anything because they will be fired for stoping it, and when they are fired, they are being threatened with arrests. So, it calls for serious self-introspection for him as Minister of Home Affairs to ensure that this country is back to peace again.”
Mwaliteta regretted that UPND and PF never saw eye-to-eye when it was time for elections.
“It’s not supposed to be like that, we are brothers and there is a Minister of [Religious Affairs and] National Guidance, this Minister was supposed to condemn violence from the word go; starting from their own cadres and also advise the President that: ‘don’t fire these innocent police officers.’ They were trying to fight the violence there. If violence is prevented from Lusaka, Copperbelt, then you won’t see any violence and truly it may be the political will to stop this violence. But there is no political will, these ministers when they go on TV, they only talk about violence to show the country that this is what they are saying. But deep down their hearts, they don’t mean it and we are worried. But Kampyongo has got the powers to stop violence at once as Minister of Home Affairs,” he observed.
And Mwaliteta, the former Kafue PF member of parliament, said UPND was looking forward to having violence-free elections in Bahati.
“We don’t want this thing where people are just saying: ‘we don’t want violence’ without action. For us, as UPND, no youth is going to go to Bahati if they don’t belong there. Except for senior members who will just go to beef up the campaigns. We are not going to send any youths there. We have youths locally, we have built local structures and that’s what we are going to use to do the job. But I want to appeal to Kampyongo to caution his Secretary General. He should tell Davies Mwila to withdraw those words he used that in Bahati they are going to retaliate what happened in Sesheke. In Sesheke, they are the cause of that violence, but again, they want to go and cause the same violence in Bahati? The Minister of Home Affairs should sit down with his Secretary General and the deputy Secretary General who are busy giving hate speech in the country that ‘please, enough is enough’,” said Mwaliteta.
“Enough of this violence! UPND is not going to Bahati with any youths. We are not going there with any violence. We are just going to send a message of hope to the Zambian people. So, we are also looking at them (PF) since they are saying that ‘nababomba sana’ (they have worked so hard’, can they go and tell the people of Bahati what development they have taken there? Not to go with pangas there to beat people.”