Editor's Comment

Let August 11 poll campaigns begin!

THE long awaited campaigns for the August 11 general elections kick off today.
Political parties participating in these polls today begin marathon schedules as they will be traversing the country canvassing for votes for their councillors, mayors or council chairmen, members of Parliament and the ultimate prize – the presidency.
Campaigns are very critical for political parties as they will be interacting with the voters with a view to selling their manifestos to get their candidates at all levels elected.
Campaigns are also aimed at mobilising people to turn up en masse and vote.
They take all manner of form – posters, radio and television advertisements, door-to-door lobbying, public discussions, and public rallies.
There will also be campaigns via text messages and social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp to lure voters.
Whatever platform political players intend to use, we urge them to stick to the truth – always tell voters what is attainable.
Zambians will be eager to hear from political parties what they intend to do for the country to build on the gains made so far.
Zambia has made tremendous socio-economic progress in the last five years under the Patriotic Front administration.
While the PF will be able to exhibit what it has done Zambia thus far, opposition parties will be arguing what they could have done better and how they intend to build on the success story so far.
All the political parties will be talking to the same voters. In view of this, we call for mutual respect among the various political players.
Campaigning is all about communicating political parties to voters who will assess the viability of the messages.
While campaigns will have a general message about lifting the Zambians from poverty, political parties will have issues for specific geographic regions to emphasise during canvassing for votes.
We, therefore, urge politicians to be realistic with their promises and not thrive on trivialities because voters will not have that time.
While it is the privilege of political players to campaign anywhere they wish to, we urge them to give each other chance so that they do not clash and provide an environment for conflict or violence.
In this case, we urge all political parties to constantly liaise with the Zambia Police Service and the Electoral Commission of Zambia when securing venues and times for their campaigns.
In this vein, we urge all political parties to be giving police adequate notice when and where they intend to hold their campaign meetings.
Political parties should also educate their cadres not to engage in violence, including desisting from offering bribes or any conduct likely to breach the electoral code.
It is over a month since the Church convened the indaba for political party leaders and it is our sincere hope that political parties will desist from attacking each other. Instead, they should focus on what they intend to tell the voters.
At all times, politicians should utilise the conflict resolution platforms when need arises instead of resorting to violence.

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