Editor's Comment

Let peace prevail

YESTERDAY, aspiring candidates for the Roan parliamentary seat filed their nominations in a rather peaceful mood. This is how things should be.
As a country that has earned itself accolades of being the beacon of light and peace on the continent and beyond, we cannot afford to be so careless and shortsighted to allow violence to define our political discourse and elections.
It is the highest level of sabotage and an affront to the sacrifice of our forefathers to allow egotistic political interests to tear down this nation.
Like many peace-loving Zambians, we have been concerned about the growing culture of political violence especially during the electoral process.
Violence has in the recent past become a part of the process before, during and after elections.
Memories are still fresh about the ugly scenes of violence in the recently held Sesheke by-election, where a number of people were injured.
As a nation anchored on Christian values, it is a mockery of our declaration to continue on the self-destructive path of violence.
Experience has so far shown that violence has never been a solution to any problem. Actually violence does not only injure the people it is intended for, but the perpetrators as well.
In a nutshell there is no winner where violence is concerned. All parties are losers.
Political violence, if not curtailed, can strangle our democracy which, at over 50 years, should surely show better signs of maturity.
This is because violence leads to voter apathy depriving citizens of their right to vote for leaders of their choice.
Political violence, creates a conducive environment for wrong leaders to be put in place thereby usurping the power and will of the people.
Violence also takes away from the credibility of the election, thereby undermining the very essence of democracy.
Violence also comes with financial implications due to damage on property and loss of business hours.
In the recent by-election in Sesheke, business was brought to a standstill due to violence. Some traders had their stalls destroyed in the skirmishes.
This is retrogressive and should never be entertained in a country that has high poverty levels.
As a country that has a long way to go in its development journey, we cannot afford to have self-imposed distractions.
Politicians as citizens who have distinguished themselves by the desire and commitment to serve the nation should know better than anybody else that violence does not serve the country’s best interests.
We expect them to put national interests first. If politicians truly mean what they claim, they should demonstrate not by only denouncing violence but acting resolutely against it.
Political leaders in particular have a huge role to play in ensuring that violence is nipped in the bud.
Political leaders by virtue of the influence they exert on their members have the power to stop them from engaging in violence.
Leaders should come out strong against violence, whether perpetrated by members or opponents.
Political parties should also make it part of their agenda to sensitise members, especially those in the lower rungs, against violence.
It is indisputable that those in the lower rungs of the party structures are the most perpetrators of violence.
There is need to educate them on the consequences of violence.
Perpetrators of violence need to understand that they cannot set the country ablaze and remain safe themselves.
We are all part of this beautiful country and whatever happens to it affects all of us.
Above all, politicians must always remember that before their political affiliations, they are Zambians.
And good citizenship demands that they put national interests first.
Political differences should only be limited to ideologies beyond that; it is One Zambia, One nation.
Our desire is that as peaceful as the Roan constituency by-election nominations were, so shall the one month of campaigns leading up to the April 11 voting day, and beyond.
Let peace prevail.

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