THE recurrence of violent crime at Kasumbalesa border post near Chililabombwe must draw constituent countries to serious discourse that will invariably bring to an end this ugly pattern of mayhem.
In this case, the Zambian Government, that of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and some countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should agree on certain terms that will make this vital frontier a safe stretch.
At one point, it was thought that the shooting had come to an end but gunmen on Saturday last week shot and wounded a couple before fleeing with K4,000 cash.
Clearly, the border area has remained porous and poses great danger not only to residents in both Zambia and DRC but also to international traders traversing the two countries and beyond.
Firstly, Zambia and the DRC should work out security measures separately within their borders before crafting an effective joint security strategy, espousing security personnel from both countries.
On the Zambian side, the Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission (DRC), Immigration, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other security wings must work together to make Kasumbalesa and other border areas crime-free.
The Immigration department must hold the fort in this security strategy as the operations can effectively anchor around this particular security wing, which among other functions, ensures legal and safe passage of local and international travellers across borders.
Although the Zambia Revenue Authority is not a security wing, it can also be part of this special project to ensure safety and legal passage of local and international visitors.
Secondly, the DRC security should also embrace all government wings in that vast country in its effort to make Kasumbalesa and the ‘no man’s land’ safe areas before engaging their Zambian counterparts.
It is after this undertaking that the two countries should invite SADC members and other entities for a more comprehensive security and international trade strategy that will guarantee security for goods and human beings.
The Zambia-DRC Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) must take centre-stage in resolving the volatile security situation at the border and surrounding areas.
It is sad that violent crime has become prevalent at the time the SADC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Commission (EAC), and other trade and economic blocs are preaching enhanced regional integration.
Crime can work against all efforts aimed at galvanising international economic development and trade that should otherwise eradicate poverty and hunger.
The emerging violent crime, in one way or the other, is a spin-off of war and conflict that have afflicted some parts of the Great Lakes Region.
We cannot also rule out that this pattern is being perpetrated by common criminals that are crisscrossing the vast border area.
The irony is that some Congolese are attacking Zambians who are in fact providing the much-needed trade to that country in terms of foodstuffs.
We are aware that Zambians have been exporting agricultural produce to DRC such as fruits, chickens, eggs and other livestock products through Kasumbalesa border post, which has now become a dangerous spot.
In whose interest are these dastardly attacks?
The Zambia-DRC JPC should convene in earnest and identify the source of this barbarism that has the potential to scare away investors.
Zambia and other countries in the region have prepared fertile economic fundamentals and grounds for sustainable development, which must not be scuttled by reneged characters.
Kasumbalesa needs urgent remedy!