Columnists Features

Congrats Zambia for huge turnout


IT HAS been quite a long journey of hard work and an interesting mix of enthusiasm, curiosity and anxiety in the crucible of Zambian politics. Many people here in Zambia and those in different parts of the world, who have followed events in the country lately, would confirm that campaigns for last Thursday’s general elections were action-packed.
Now that the excited and partly anxious elections have just passed, a journalist must surely have something to write about.
First and foremost, congratulations to the winner of the presidential election, President Edgar Lungu and everyone who has won.
As with every competition, there are winners and losers in elections for political office. Having followed campaigns for the general elections long before the crescendo, I would be restless if I never penned down a few words of felicitation to winners. Similarly, it would trouble my conscience if I remained silent about losers, who had to contend with anxiety at the prospect of losing.
Why must a journalist have a say about the just-ended elections? Quite simple, a press man or woman is a messenger of the public, being one who serves the public interest in their work.
Thus, those who have won, surely deserve recognition by all and even commendation. Not doing so would not only be unjust but, clearly, a way of undermining our mature democracy.
Losers, too, deserve some respect considering the enormity of the effort they put into the campaigns. The results of the elections as a whole show that a good number of those who have lost at different levels of the elections gave their rivals fair competition, as winning was not guaranteed for any candidate from the onset of campaigns.
No, victory was not guaranteed. All contestants, of course, had their own chances based on different ratings, but victory would eventually solely depend on the outcome of the votes cast across the length and breadth of this country.
No one had 100 percent chance of winning, otherwise they would not have campaigned the way they did. Campaigns had to assess chances, following which they developed strategies in the hope that they could win.
In all fairness, what I am saying almost completely reflects what obtained in the campaigns for the general elections between the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development, which authenticates what pundits, long before the whistle was blown, rightfully envisaged as a two-horse race between the two parties.
Those who have won have already won, and those who have lost, have lost. Life must go on, unless there are genuine concerns in the light of our law.
It is worth stating that the Zambian electorate have done a commendable job by turning out in masses to support multi-party democracy through casting the ballot. I hope all of our politicians will respect that salient fact.
Another vital observation is that the elections were, on average, incident-free, notwithstanding a few incidents reported here and there, whose significance in the bigger picture would be dwarfed or overshadowed by an overwhelming stream of good reports about the elections from different stakeholders such as foreign observer missions.
Losing an election can be very painful, but not one that candidates in this country cannot fail to overcome. What is comforting, however, is that in any election, there is supposed to be a winner ultimately.
Victors and losers alike should now seek to work together to improve the welfare of Zambians. It is also important to appreciate the substance of President Lungu’s remarks that Zambia is one and remains as such. Appreciating the significance of those words only, would not be enough. The people of Zambia must now, more than ever, operationalise that graceful statement.
Losers can probably look to the future with anticipation rather than harbour feelings of disappointment for too long.
Above all, let peace continue to prevail in Zambia. It would be great injustice to the heritage of the country if peace were disrupted, even for a few minutes. What would our generation tell the next, if loss in the August 11 general elections is not handled well?
Our generation, Zambians today, was bequeathed a nation that was united and with a bright future by our forefathers, which is the more reason every one of us has a noble and sacred duty to live in peace and ensure its maintenance.
Elections have been held in Zambia before. People have won and lost them countless times, but they have not resorted to violence. Therefore, we have a good background to continue moving together as a united people.
There is a whole lot of programmes that we as Zambians should concentrate on. For example, our economic outlook is promising, so are other areas of national development.
Therefore, may we wish President-elect Lungu and his government well and pray for him to succeed, since his success is the success of all Zambians.
President Lungu’s victory must be looked upon generally as a victory for all Zambians.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail senior sub-editor.

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