THE Patriotic Front has now become a poisoned chalice which no one wants to drink from. The most vocal vuvuzelas of the former ruling party have actually taken lead in resigning from the party. Things fall apart doesn’t even start to describe what is happening in the party. The jostling for party positions that we saw prior to the August 12 general elections has gone. People don’t want to be associated with PF anymore. But this is not surprising. That is the nature of human beings. If PF had won elections, many people would have claimed responsibility for the victory, but no one wants to take the blame for the defeat.
Under such a situation, one would expect that those who have remained in the party, like ticks on a dying animal, would be doing everything possible to salvage the situation. To the contrary, the new PF leadership is simply here to make people laugh, with no message of renewed hope. That is what is surprising. Reading the comments from the PF vice president, Given Lubinda, the man doesn’t give any confidence and it seems he also has a very short memory to remember how his party ruled Zambians.
LUBINDA: “We have gotten disturbing reports of how the police have become extremely active, very active. A few years ago when the Minister of Justice was beaten, the police took weeks to effect an arrest. Now whenever a UPND member goes to the police and points at anybody and says ‘this one beat me during the campaigns’, that person is arrested. As I speak now, 10 youths in Kasama have been held for more than 10 days without bond purely because some UPND members went to the police and said ‘these youths beat me up’. Police, remember that what goes up, comes down. What goes around, comes around. Remember that you are going to be held personally liable. Yes if a person has committed an offence, charge them, take them to court, let them go and prove themselves innocent. Don’t prove them guilty before they are given an opportunity to prove themselves innocent.”
This is almost laughable. What is Mr Lubinda talking about? What does he mean when he says what goes round comes back around? Do politicians listen to themselves when they talk? What moral right does anyone in the PF have to complain about police brutality? If anyone from the former ruling party is supposed to talk about lack of professionalism in the police service, it cannot be this man. Mr Lubinda was the minister of injustice and he cannot claim to be a victim of police brutality now because his party created this monster. When UPND supporters were being shot at by the police, where was Mr Lubinda? When police tear-gassed Verspers, what statement did Mr Libinda issue? Did the former minister condemn the police for the murder of Nsama Nsama?
Under PF, people were arrested on trumped up charges, detained for months and never given a chance to be heard in court. The opportunity for the accused to prove themselves innocent is something that Mr Lubinda as justice minister did not value. People, including the incumbent President, lived under terror. The police service was turned into an oppressive machinery. Forget political gatherings, under PF, police would follow congregants in church and throw teargas at them.
So Mr Lubinda should not say what goes around comes back around. It is the people who must remind him of this; to explain to him that what he is experiencing is karma, a test of his own medicine. We warned the PF that soon they would be out of power, we warned them to treat others as they would want to be treated. When they defended the barbaric Public Order Act, we told them that when you are in power, it is best to create laws that suit those who are outside government because power shifts and no one stays in office forever.
If the PF is serious about rebranding, our advice to them now is that they should get rid of all the people who were the faces of the party. The PF rebranding that we are seeing is a joke because these people who are talking are the ones responsible for killing the party. Rebranding doesn’t mean disowning your misdeeds, that’s like wearing dirty socks inside out, it doesn’t stop them smelling.