Zambia – Before, During And After Elections.
THE political dust has now settled and so has the drama surrounding election results.
It goes without saying that life in the hood is coming back to normal, although what might determine normality in these parts may not exactly be normal in affluent areas.
Take for instance, the familiar commotion of women and children meting out punishment on a woman accused of flirting with another woman’s husband.
Fortunately, such unpleasant scenes were put on hold by hood dwellers during election campaigns.
I wonder what the situation would be like in the hood if such incidents occurred in the midst of political cadre excitement.
Imagine a group of residents on the streets shouting hule , hule, ( prostitute, prostitute,) and on the other hand cadres singing “ Dununa dununa iyeee , dununa reverse”. There would be competing commotions. Of course, women accused of adultery would not know whether they have been beaten by political cadres or the usual ordinary mobs.
Nevertheless, life has returned to normal in the hood because people can now move freely without fear of being mugged by some violent cadres.
With so much political hype during campaigns, every unpleasant incident was attributed to cadres.
If a stray dog defecated in someone’s backyard, everyone in the neighbourhood would heap blame on cadres.
“ When are these cadres going to stop their madness? It has now led them to defecating in other people’s backyards,” a resident would say.
Even if they discovered that the waste belonged to a dog, they would still accuse its owner of belonging to UNIP. It’s funny how people in the hood have strong opinions about different political parties during campaigns.
This is the period when people in the hood act like cadres are so different from them.
If a public toilet got clogged, the blame would go to cadres. If taverns ran out of opaque beer early, every imbiber in the hood would blame cadres for the shortage.
However, people can also wear political regalia without looking around who is after them.
With votes cast, one can wear a UNIP T- shirt without being asked by people from rival political parties why his presidential candidate failed to vote.
Men can go back to their favourite watering holes without fear of finding cadres there planning who and where to raid.
Of course, they would only find a cadre of sex workers there planning who to seduce and take money from.
You may even spot some sex workers harassing a client for not paying for the service.
Obviously to some men, this may not be as bad as being beaten by a rival group of political cadres for wearing a UNIP T- shirt.
In fact, sex workers embrace every one regardless of their political affiliation, which is why, as a social grouping, they do not take part in politics for fear of losing business.
This is not to say that they benefit from government contracts, but the thing is, they have to safeguard their business interests lest the hood disowns them.
Of course, Dundumwezi might not be the best place of refuge for them at the moment if chased from the hood.
Actually, it would be virtually impossible for them to travel from Lusaka’s Kalingalinga to Dundumwezi without anyone providing directions.
But one thing is sure, even if sex workers did not speak out against political violence in the hood, they were worried the fighting would distabilise their oldest profession.
I mean, where would they find clients if political violence continued threatening the survival of men in watering holes? Needless to say, it is not only foreign investors who get worried during elections. Political violence also drives away ‘ investor confidence’ in most watering holes in the hood. I mean, most big buyers stay away from bars, including brothels.
But like I said, sex workers do not take part in politics.
Perhaps, this is why you did not see them lining up the streets at night wearing different political party regalia, including that of Poor People’s Party president Alex Mulyokela, although he did not stand.
Imagine sex workers associating themselves with political parties by wearing T- shirts at brothels reading “ Vote Alex Mulyokela” or “ Alex Mulyokela for president”? Imagine sex workers endorsing a particular candidate in the hood? Definitely, some men supporting different political parties would not seek their services for fear of being accused of playing double standards.
Of course, if that happened, sex workers would lose business, but unfortunately they would not go to court because their business is illegal.
However, the hood has become peaceful because there are no people going round in the night with megaphones telling residents who to vote for or to vote in the referendum, or indeed announcing the venue and time of either the meeting or rally.
The only announcements you can hear from megaphones are those of some traders going round the hood buying used car batteries.
For affluent hoods, they are probably counting the cost of their funding of political parties and candidates in the elections.
Of course, those who contested and lost are in a serious post- mortem.
For those who have won, it is time to recoup their investment in the election.
For sure, new terminologies have emerged after the bitterly contested poll, which had nine candidates in a two- horse race.
You are sure that babies to be born in the next few months will bear names such as Chitulika, Dundumwezi, Referendum, Rejected Ballots, Recounts, Violence, Turnout, Verification, ECZ, Dununa Reverse, Monitors, PVT etc.
This is because of the drama that characterised the aftermath of the 2016 general elections.