NATIONAL Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo Jr says the political barbarism being perpetrated by the PF does not surprise but it is upsetting.
And Chipimo has complained that poverty has completely eroded the humanity of Zambians.
Yesterday morning, a horde of suspected PF cadres stormed Lusaka’s 5 FM radio to block Chishimba Kambwili, the Roan PF member of parliament and National Democratic Congress (NDC) consultant, from featuring on the Burning Issue programme.
The cadres smashed the radio station’s windowpanes before NDC spokesperson Eric Chanda fired warning shots to disperse them.
When asked whether the levels of political intolerance in the country worried him, Chipimo responded that it somewhat did.
“In a way, it’s (political intolerance) worrying but it’s not surprising [because] this is a trend that has been consistent with regards to the party that is currently in power. The levels of intolerance have really rocketed to something that we’ve never seen before! In some ways, it’s a case of what goes around comes around; the violence that has characterised the PF is something that we are seeing spilling over whenever members leave or whenever members that have been active or close to those in power fall out of favour,” Chipimo said when he featured on Let the People Talk programme on Radio Phoenix today.
He also questioned the late response of the police insofar as quelling the attack at 5 FM radio was concerned.
“When you look at what actually happened [at 5 FM radio], you have to ask yourself: who are they kidding when they say that these are people who are not part of the PF? The Central Police is…even if you were to throw a stone, you could probably hit the roof of the police station from the radio station where this incident happened – it’s not that far. It will take even a police man who has not done exercises perhaps less than two minutes to walk across,” Chipimo noted.
“Now, for it to have taken close to an hour for that response from the police to really bring itself, it sends a very clear message [that] if you are former member of the PF and you are going to say insulting things against the party or any of its leaders, then expect violence. This is something that shouldn’t even surprise the NDC, Chishimba Kambwili or Mr Musenge [because] this is something that they were very much part of; they witnessed this happening to other people while they were firmly enjoying the benefits of what it means to be a party in power. So, I don’t think it’s (political violence) surprising but it’s nevertheless, still shocking and troubling.”
On Zambia’s shady debt levels, Chipimo pointed out that there was a new report from Africa Confidential which gave the true picture of the country’s debt.
“We are now at 76 per cent of our GDP. The debt is close to US$16.8 million or US$16.9 billion – that is the true state of our debt. The government doesn’t even seem to be aware of this; the left side doesn’t have a clue of what the right hand is doing!” Chipimo Jr said.
The opposition leader, on the recent brutal beating of protesting Copperbelt University (CBU) students by the police in Kitwe, observed that certain things should have happened from those in government.
“I’m really pained in my heart when I think that none of these things really have taken place. First of all, there should have been a very clear message sent from the authorities about this brutality that took place. There should have been a visit from a very high-level government official to the affected students. Somebody should have gone to see them and contact their parents and just assure them that everything possible is being done to ensure that they are going to be taken care of and their wellbeing will be looked after,” said Chipimo.