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FILE: BRONAH Muntemba (right) stands in one of the burnt-out houses. About 30 houses were burnt during the political violence in Chikwato village in Namwala. PICTURE: EDDIE MWANALEZA

Commission on violence needs support of all

THE last election saw heightened levels of political violence in the history of the country. Never before has the country witnessed such violence.
We want to say that such violence is unZambian. In the least, it robbed the nation of the brotherhood experienced in the past and worse still, it took away from the good name we have built for ourselves among our neighbours.
Zambia is known as a haven of peace but that violence which followed the pre and post-election period did not portray our country in that light.
It is our desire to preserve the good name and ensure peace for all that President Edgar Lungu has constituted a Commission of Inquiry to examine the causes of political violence before and after the general elections and come up with answers on what caused the violence and that can be done to curb any emergency of the same.
Zambia has held a number of general elections but it leaves us wondering why the last one was marred with violence at such levels. We should also add that it was not the first time the country was holding multi-party politics.
The nation has practised multi-party politics since 1991. In the time leading to these elections, political parties which have participated in these elections have done so peacefully.
Because of this, the nation has been a shining example of a growing democracy in the southern part of the continent.
But the violence that erupted in the last election period has posed a threat to this reputation and we hope this was the last time we were seeing the violence.
We do not want a situation where citizens become apprehensive about security issues when an election is approaching. This dark patch in the nation’s history should be put behind us.
Now with the constitution of the commission, we expect it to come up with answers that will help arrive at solutions to preventing the violence.
We want to urge the commission to go flat out on its assignment and leave no stone unturned in executing its task.
Indeed, a great task lies on the shoulders of the commissioners and we are confident they will do their best in finding the needed solutions.
Indeed, like Chief Justice Irene Mambilima said during the swearing-in of the 15-member committee, the nation is looking up to the commissioners for answers.
The Chief Justice stated that violence is a strange culture for Zambia, a country that has been peaceful in the last 52 years.
It is important therefore to allow the Commission to carry out its work and assist it in any way possible. It needs the support of everyone.
A commission goes out to gather information and this activity can only succeed if citizens are willing to work with the commission.
We want to urge those who are able to assist the commission to do so to enable the commissioners meet their terms of reference.
We also want to urge the commission to carry out its mandate within the given timeframe. In doing this, there should be no room for delays as this may affect the 120 day period given to the commission.
Let us allow the commission and help it carry out its work because it is for the benefit of all citizens.