Editor's Comment

Let there be peace forever

THE peace that has prevailed in Bahati and Roan constituencies ahead of today’s elections is commendable.
Although pockets of violence have been reported in Roan, generally, there has been calm in the two constituencies – reflecting maturity in the manner all the political players have conducted their campaigns.
The peace seen in Bahati and Roan constituencies is a far cry from the violence which characterised the Sesheke by-election last month.
That Bahati in Mansa has recorded zero cases of electoral violence is a victory for all the contesting political parties.
Therefore, it is imperative that peace continues to prevail in Bahati and Roan even after voting today.
Bahati and Roan are the two parliamentary by-elections taking place today alongside seven ward elections in Chama, Chavuma, Kabwe, Itezhi Tezhi, Mansa, Mufumbwe and Mungwi.
Zambians deserve to continue living in peace before, during and after elections because that is what we are known for.
Political parties should continue to acknowledge that elections are like a game of football which will always produce a winner at the end of the 90 minutes.
In this case, the winners in Bahati and Roan, including seven ward elections, will only be known after the Electoral Commission of Zambia – a body mandated to manage elections – announces the results.
We expect all the contestants to accept the outcome of the elections and reflect on their performance to forecast the future.
After all, today’s by-election will not be the last but a mere litmus test to all the political parties and their candidates.
This is because elections, in case of today, are being held to enable voters to choose representatives in Parliament and councils.
Voting is a democratic right citizens have in which their voices should be heard.
That is why all political players who successfully file their nominations are given a platform to campaign, during which they sell their manifestos to the electorate.
When a winner is declared, the losers have an opportunity to measure their strength as well as weaknesses.
What the country has seen in Bahati is commendable because leaders from the various political parties have co-existed without anyone looking at their backs.
Political leaders should know that their followers look up to them for guidance. When they incite violence, their cadres will do just that.
Therefore, political leaders have a premium to denounce violence at all costs – even when they feel that they have been provoked.
Political leaders should refrain from the temptation of manipulating youths into engaging in violence.
Due to high unemployment levels in the country, youths have tended to be economically vulnerable and find it easy to be engaged as agents of violence as a way of expressing their social frustrations.
Political parties easily take advantage of youths to fan violence.
Zambia should be nowhere near violence because there is a danger of the same degenerating into a civil war from which the country may take long to recover.
The country has made huge strides towards socio-economic development, which could suffer a serious reversal in the event of a civil war.
Let us continue to co-exist in an atmosphere of peace and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence.
We just have one country.
Let us continue living in a unitary state where differences – political or otherwise – can be resolved amicably.

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