By Dickson Jere
The Mufumbwe parliamentary by-election of April 2010 was one of the bloodiest in recent history of our country – the Sesheke style!
Houses were torched while dozens of people were maimed or badly injured during the fierce fight between the then Ruling MMD and the opposition UPND supporters.
The President was livid!
The pictures that came out in the press was disheartening- like from civil strife in some remote African country that we see on television.
The President called an urgent meeting with the Defence and Security leadership.
“This is unacceptable!” President Rupiah Banda fumed at the Impromptu meeting.
The Inspector General of the Police was put on blame by everyone in attendance.
They also wondered why he was in Lusaka when the situation was deteriorating in Mufumbwe. He was told to show leadership!
As the meeting got heated, Army Commander Gen. Wisdom Lopa took the floor with few words.
He asked the IG one simple question. “Have you failed to quell the violence in Mufumbwe?”
The Gen asked, stating he wanted a “Yes”or “No” answer.
If the answer was Yes, the Gen wanted to send his men and sort out the situation!
“We can’t keep the Commander In-Chief busy discussing small issues like political violence of drunk cadres” he said.
In a nutshell, the IG was dispatched to the area after he confirmed he had the capacity to bring order.
And order prevailed the moment he arrived and in fact he had an almost physical fight with UPND leader. (Remember that picture that went viral).
So it is disheartening to see pictures coming out of Sesheke almost ten years after the Mufumbwe experience.
It means the police command do not learn from the past and therefore the blame must be squarely placed on its leadership.
The Sesheke by-election was expected to be volatile given the stakes. Did the police plan on how to deal with the situation?
Or are they reacting to the situation? Who is head of the mission on the ground? Tough questions but they must be answered by someone in the high command of the police! These are my Sesheke questions!
You see, I have not placed the blame on either PF or UPND – because the police has the capacity to stop the ongoing petty political fights.