Statement of the Socialist Party on the Luvale-Lunda conflict in Zambezi
Let’s quickly find ways to end this embarrassing Luvale-Lunda conflict in Zambezi.
This apparently intractable conflict between the Luvale and Lunda people in Zambezi is demoralising.
Beyond destabilising our families and communities, it tends to perpetuate the very conditions of misery and hate that contributed to it in the first place.
These – Luvale, Lunda, Luchazi and Chokwe –
are one people with a common origin. They all came here in 1800 from southern Congo, just above our North Western Province, in the Kolwezi area of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Where is this animosity, hate, conflict coming from? What purpose does it serve? Who is benefiting from it?
Why have our leaders – political, traditional, religious or otherwise – failed to resolve this conflict over the years?
Conflict resolution should be easy. Conventional wisdom has it that conflict arises when people feel their respective interests or needs are incompatible. Defusing a conflict, then, is tantamount to eliminating the perceived incompatibility and creating conditions that foster common goals and values.
A conflict that has become intractable should be especially easy to resolve through such interventions. After all, a conflict with no end in sight serves the interests of very few
people, drains both parties’ resources, wastes energy, and diminishes human capital in service of a futile endeavour.
Even a compromise solution that only partially addresses the salient needs and interests of the parties should be embraced when they realise that such a compromise represents a far better deal than pursuing a self-defeating pattern of behaviour that offers them nothing but aversive
outcomes with a highly uncertain prospect of goal attainment.
Conflict resolution, of course, is at times anything
but easy. To be sure, many antagonistic encounters stemming from incompatible interests are short-lived and run
their course without causing irreparable damage to either party. But a small portion of relationships that are mired
in conflict become protracted affairs, to the point of seeming intractability. Such conflicts can be extremely
detrimental and become self-sustaining, displaying
marked resistance to intervention even in the face of rational considerations that would seemingly defuse the animosities at work.
This imperviousness to rationality suggests that the
problem of intractability says more about psychology than it does about objective reality. An intractable con-
flict is one that has become entrenched in cognitive,
affective, and social-structural mechanisms, a transfor-
mation that effectively distances the conflict from the perceived incompatibilities that launched it. This
transformation can occur in conflicts in marriages, in work settings, between political groups in communities, and even
between warring nations. As a conflict becomes a pri-
mary focus of each party’s thoughts, feelings, and ac-
tions, even factors that are irrelevant to the conflict
become framed in a way that intensifies or maintains the conflict. It is as though the conflict acts like a gravity well into which the surrounding mental, behavioural, and
social-structural landscape begins to slide. Once parties are trapped in such a well, escape requires tremendous will and energy and thus feels impossible.
Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party
July 14, 2019