Editor's Comment

Turn out in numbers

TODAY, voters in Sesheke have the solemn responsibility of trekking to polling stations dotted across the vast constituency to vote for their Member of Parliament.
Today’s parliamentary by-election in Sesheke will also be held alongside seven Local Government by-elections in Anoya Zulu ward of Chililabombwe, Munyama ward of Kabwe, Mkomba ward of Lundazi, Chindwale ward of Katete, Chinkutila ward of Chifunabuli, Nkombwa ward of Isoka and Sewe Mungole ward of Chavuma.
These by-elections are significant in the life of our country as a democracy.
Therefore, voters in Sesheke, where a by-election was necessitated by the death of Frank Kufakwandi, and the seven ward by-elections should uphold their constitutional right by participating in choosing their leaders.
It is unfortunate that by-elections in Zambia have lately been characterised by apathy as some voters do not see the need to participate.
However, nothing should stop a proud citizen, who is conscious about his or her civic duty, from participating in choosing the leader of their choice.
Voting gives citizens the power to decide on the quality of leaders they want at various levels – from ward, mayoral/council chairperson, Member of Parliament to President.
It is a rare opportunity for citizens, who are of voting age, especially registered voters, to express their opinion on the kind of representation they want.
This is true for a multi-party democracy like our country, where voters have more choices to pick from.
In Sesheke, for instance, there are four political parties which have staked their candidates and manifestos.
Voters there have to choose between the ruling Patriotic Front, the United Party for National Development, the United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia, and the People’s Alliance for Change candidates.
Given this diversity, there should be no reason to shun voting because the options are there for voters to make.
The same can be said of all the seven ward by-elections where more than two political parties are participating, although the PF and UPND are prominent in all the elections.
With the parties and candidates already known, voting gives voters yet another opportunity to stand up for the agenda they want for their ward or constituency.
Voters should never underestimate the power of their ballot, that is why they have to take time off their fields, trading places and offices to decide what is best for their ward or constituency.
It does not make sense for armchair critics, who thrive on name-calling of winners after the vote has been decided.
Citizens should always bear in mind that elections are decided by the people who vote and not by critics who deliberately stay away on flimsy excuses.
By now, all candidates have explained their manifestos, what they intend to do for the constituency and wards in which they are contesting.
It is also assumed that voters will also decide based on the manifestos of the various candidates.
That is why we are urging voters in Sesheke and the seven wards to turn up in numbers and to make the decision for themselves.
Voting is secret.
We hope that all political parties will urge restraint on the part of their cadres so that people vote in peace.
There should be no amount of intimidation, let alone violence.
It is a pity that violence in Sesheke and Mkomba ward in Lundazi blighted the run-up to today’s elections.
For a Christian country like ours, intimidation and violence should never arise and should be nowhere near.
But failure to abide by the electoral code of conduct as advised by the Electoral Commission of Zambia has continued to contribute to pre-election mayhem.
We hope that all parties will accept the outcome of the elections and move on.
Those in the habit of not accepting election results even when the playing field has been sufficiently levelled, should be frowned upon by society.

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