The arrest of UPND President Hakainde Hichilema and some of his supporters on charges of treason, is deeply disturbing, coming as it does, at a time when our christian nation is marking the holy week , Iam not directly privy to what may or may not have happened in Mongu during the Kuomboka traditional ceremony , apart from the conflicting and contradictory acccounts i have read and seen in the state, private and social media. What is evident and beyond dispute is that totaritarian regimes around the world have always used the charge of treason to punish and silence dissent and those with opposing views in their respective countries , because of its lethal non-bailable nature, which keeps their opponents locked up in deplorable and inhuman conditions.
For a very long time now, i have been calling for unconditional dialogue among our political leaders , where all issues and grievances should be discussed . Experience all over the world has proved beyond any doubt that when there is dialogue among political leaders, it helps lower tensions and creates building blocks for much needed durable peace .
The culture of bashing each other in the media day in and day out , just to please supporters, has grave consequences for peace . The peace our country was credited for in the past did not come about by accident . My generation had to work for it and even went out of way to make compromises for the sake of peace in our country.
The greatness of countries does not depend on who controls the instruments of violence and the power to teach lessons and to whom and for what reason. Great nations look at the bigger picture and go out of their way to find lasting solutions to their problems . It would be folly for anyone to pretend that we have not had internal tensions in our country , which have been palpable since the disputed presidential elections of august,2016, heightened by the deplorable manner in which the constitutional court handled the presidential election petition brought by UPND President Hakainde Hichilema and his running mate Geofrey Mwamba . The effects of that debacle will continue to haunt our country for a long time .
What we don’t need now is yet more tension and animosity, which has the potential to divide our already divided country even more, at a time when our people are struggling to put food on their dinner tables and young people struggling with little or no success to find jobs .
Zambia is part of the global village and what happens in our country is of immense interest to the region , africa and the world. That is why any threats to peace and security anywhere , is a threat to peace and security everywhere. It is also the reason why the united nations, the african union and SADC have institutions and mechanisms to monitor potential flush points around the world and to undertake preventive diplomacy and other measures to preserve international peace and security. It is also for this reason, that institutions such as the world bank, IMF, EU, and bilateral aid countries, measure governance and human rights issues as a yardstick for disbursing their loan facilities or grants.
What we need in our country is to build a just and fair society for all our people , by creating better opportunities and work together to grow our sluggish economy, so that we create jobs for our people, particularly young people who continue to carry the scars of despair and frustration on their faces. This requires enlightened leadership all round, which is capable of putting zambia first . The failure to have meaningful political dialogue will ultimately benefit no one and disadvantage everyone . In politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. No one knows what tomorrow holds and over the years, it had the capacity to produce the unexpected . I also hope that our two former Presidents and respected statesmen Dr Kenneth Katundu and Mr Rupiah Banda , can play an important role in bringing our political leaders together for purposes of having constructive dialogue .