Editor's Comment

Zambia awaits issue-based campaigns

THE C-400 project will open up most of the roads on the Copperbelt, some of which are impassable.

ZAMBIA is in a campaign mode. It has been since last Monday, when the campaign period kicked off officially.
With the major political parties – the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and opposition United Party for National Development (UPND)-expected to unveil their presidential running mates, Parliamentary and Local Government candidates as well as roll out their manifestos, increased political activities are expected next week.
Of course, most key political parties have been in campaign mode since January last year after President Lungu was elected.
Political parties such as the PF, UPND, Forum for Democaracy and Development (FDD) and the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) have been going round the country interacting with their supporters.
However, with campaigns getting into high gear last Monday, parties have raised the bar as they begin to display their messages on posters, on billboards, at rallies and in the media.
Tension and excitement are bound to keep rising in the quest for the needed votes on August 11, 2016.
In these situations, as evidenced in previous election campaigns, some political cadres, especially the youth, tend to take matters in their own hands and their behaviour borders on threatening the security of the nation.
Politics is not about behaving in any manner, including that which is inimical to the State and the citizens, just to have one’s candidate elected.
It is understandable for Zambians to get excited about the unfolding political events, but they should not be carried away by their enthusiasm.
There is a lot of political space in Zambia and anyone who so desires to play a part should be free to do so.
The quest to outdo each other should be carried out peacefully and with civility. The political parties should focus on issues.
Parties should unfold their manifestos and use these as the talking points in their campaigns. They should desist from mudslinging and distance themselves from physical confrontation. Let the battles be verbal and on issues.
Zambia is renowned for its political stability even in the heat of elections. There is a lot that other countries can learn and keep learning from Zambia. Given the uncharacteristic political dimensions unfolding in the USA political campaigns, Zambia has another opportunity to show that even seasoned democracies can look in this direction and give a collective nod of appreciation.
Yesterday, Zambia Air Force Commander Eric Chimese cautioned politicians against perpetrating violence and hate speech.
Lieutenant-General Chimese said service chiefs in the country are concerned about carelessness, lack of patriotism, hooliganism and total indiscipline by some citizens over the past few months.
“We have openly seen them inciting violence, especially through the media. These individuals have been justifying their acts of violence or [those] of their followers in the name of retaliation or indeed self-defence,” Gen Chimese said.
Gen. Chimese said violence against a fellow human being can never be justified, especially in Zambia, a Christian nation.
Zambians should heed this advice as the country gets into this high-gear election campaign.
Zambians are not ready for dangerous political games which do not add value to the country’s electoral process but merely end up traumatising voters.
All political players should desist from using language that will stir tension and animosity.
Zambia awaits peaceful issue-based campaigns.

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