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Unity, peace must continue now that polls have passed

ELEMIYA PHIRI
IN one of the letters to the editor column in the  Daily Mail, I wrote a letter headlined:” Pray for peace before and during the presidential by election.” I felt duty-bound to write about praying for peace due to the fact that peace is the bedrock of democracy of any state including Zambia.
The just-ended presidential poll was characterised by political violence within political parties and among other political parties. During the political violence, many people sustained injuries and in some instances, one or two people lost lives. The perpetrators of political violence were bad elements of the parties they belong to and they do not even mean well to society.
However, this is not the first time that our country held the presidential election, following the death of a sitting president. In 2008, we had the election after third republican president, Levy  Mwanawasa died at Percy Military Hospital in France. In a similar vein, the January 20, 2015 presidential poll was caused by the death of fifth republican president, Michael Sata on October 28, 2014 in a London hospital.
The lesson I derived from the recently-held election is that there is nothing like underdogs in Zambian politics of today. I say so because there was a tight race between the newly-elected and sixth republican President Edgar  Lungu of the Patriotic Front and president of United Party for National Development, Hakainde Hichilema. President Lungu polled 807,925 votes against his closest rival, Hakainde Hichilema who polled 780,168 votes.
In the recently-held poll, there were 11 presidential aspirants.       According to the Southern African Development Council observer mission report, the election was held in a free, fair and transparent manner. The local media also reported that the election was free and fair. Despite the election being declared free and fair, some political parties cried foul over the authenticity of the poll. Such an outcry is common in any given election that has been held in Zambia before.
The voting pattern was highly on regional basis as evidenced by election results in some provinces such as Southern, Western and North-Western provinces. This is not good at all as it depicts voting on tribal lines. Zambia is not Southern Province and vice versa for instance.
Furthermore, this kind of voting pattern cannot make a political party win in any presidential poll. This has to change as a matter of fact. Despite what transpired, it is now water under the bridge. In other words, it is a bygone.
All said and done, the 2015 election is over. Edgar Lungu is the duly elected republican President whose mandate is to carry late President Sata’ development agenda. He is even the one to finish President Sata’s tenure of office. He, therefore, needs our support for him to deliver on his campaign promises.
In the spirit of one Zambia, one nation, we should embrace one another and promote peace and unity. Zambia is for all of us regardless of whether your preferred candidate won the poll or not. In reality, we are all winners as we are now under the leadership of one Edgar Chagwa Lungu. It is time for real work. Together we can develop Mother Zambia.
The author is a social, economic and political commentator.

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