THE killing of two people in Kanyama following rival political party clashes are alien to Zambia. We have seen political violence before and we are still battling with it from election to election. But what we are seeing in this election is something indescribable. This does not reflect the character of a democracy. How can a Zambian do this to a fellow Zambian simply over opposing views or political affiliation?

Fellow Zambians, let us not destroy our country and its reputation in this manner. Our message today is directed at PF and UPND youths as well as the voters who attend campaign gatherings. It is time for Zambians to start talking to the man in the mirror. Elections are not something that anyone should die for. Campaigns are not a platform for butchering one another; it is something that people should use to trade ideas.

The violence that is happening in Zambia is not happening to President Lungu or any of his family members. It is not happening to Honourable Kampyongo or his wife. This violence is not happening to Mr Hakainde Hichilema. He and his businesses are safe. It is you, the poor Zambian cadre, who is a victim of this violence. Why are you being used?

Every day, we keep blaming government, saying those in power are not doing enough to stop the bloodshed. We keep blaming Mr Hichilema, Mr Lungu, and others, that they are not doing enough. But the honest truth is that we, the victims of violence, are actually the perpetrators of the vice!

No matter how daring the situation may be, no matter how desperate they may get, the top politicians will never engage in a physical fight. President Lungu will never lift a stone to throw it at Mr Hichilema or the other way round. It is us the people who fight running battles on their behalf and get injured in the process. For how long will this continue?

It is high time that we stopped blaming government leaders; it is high time that we stopped pointing fingers at the politicians for the violence that we the youths have embraced as a means of survival. We must accept that we have a greater role to play in this violence than anyone else. We need to take the responsibility and blame ourselves because we are the ones who are directly involved in this violence.

Have we not noticed as citizens that the only change that we see around our politics only takes place on the documents? They sign peace treaties for one election and the next one, the violence resumes. They keep amending the rules of engagement and the Electoral Code of Conduct, but on the ground, the attitude doesn’t change, the hacking continues and the bloodshed goes on. Our minds as the youths of this country need to change! We need to stop interpreting elections as packs of shake-shake, T-shirts, chitenge and dancing parties.

We need a new Zambia. A Zambia that will see vigilant citizens who realise that they are the government, they are what they want to be, they hold the power to turn the country around, politically, socially and economically. We need a new Zambia that will get a new definition other than the now meaningless “beacon of democracy.” We must aspire for a new Zambia that will transcend party politics and be a shining example of economic emancipation.

Unfortunately, that new Zambia will not come with the same mind-set that we have had all these years. It will come by the change of attitude towards one another and the realisation that Zambia can be what we would like it to be. It’s not Mr Lungu who is killing us; it’s the choices that we make as the youths because we form more than 65 per cent of the country’s population.

As we go towards August 12, we must ask ourselves as youths involved in these polls: are we humans or animals that can take any instructions even if those instructions are harmful to ourselves? Ba PF naimwe ba UPND, show us your humanity, please!