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Saturday, 1 May 2010

Governing in difficult times, revisited...

The violence that has rocked the Mufumbwe election has made sad reading indeed. The Post reported yesterday that "two people are confirmed dead and three others nursing serious injuries after a vehicle being driven by MMD parliamentary candidate Mulondwe Muzungu's son hit them early this morning around 05:00 hours".  And that is just a tip of the iceberg.  The Watchdog reports that after defeat to the UPND-PF pact, His Excellency President Rupiah Bwezani Banda appears to be blaming the opposition for the violence : "The President said it was regrettable that the campaigns in Mufumbwe were characterized by violence perpetuated by the opposition supporters".

The Opposition for their part have lost any little faith they had in the police after the arrest of Pact Co-Leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema. The other Pact Co-Leader Mr Sata  has since noted "since he [Kabonde] took
over as Inspector General [of Police], have you seen how shameless and biased he is when it comes to his involvement in matters concerning the MMD and the opposition? And as long as Kabonde remains Inspector General of Police, you can forget about peace in Zambia in 2011 because how will he manage a general election next year if he is failing to manage by-elections?

That question by Mr Sata is not to be ignored. Many of us truly shudder at the level of state engineered brutality.    As I have reflected on how to move forward, I have found myself strangely drawn back to the wisdom of the post I penned at the height of the economic crisis  - Governing in difficult times .  No doubt Mr Rupiah's allies will follow the chant the Opposition are to blame, but as argued in that post, the institutional alignment in our nation places great burden on the Executive. The Executive has accumulated all these powers at the expense of individual freedoms - and frankly has rendered the concept of "active citizenship" impossible.  So with  that enormous power Mr Rupiah keeps for himself comes great responsibility.  The ball is in Mr Rupiah's court. The advice stands. Its time to start governing....

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