Editor's Comment

Let’s have clean campaigns

THE filing of nominations for the Lusaka mayoral position yesterday has signalled the start of the campaigns for the July 26 elections.Apart from Lusaka, the capital city, other elections for council chairperson positions are billed for Chilanga and the newly-created districts of Chasefu, Chipangali, Kasenengwa, Lumezi and Lusangazi in the Eastern Province.
Chifunabuli in Luapula Province is the other area where a by-election is slated.
For the next one month, the campaigns are going to be in full swing.
As usual, focus will be on the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the major opposition, the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Apart from the PF and UPND, there are other political parties and independent candidates who will be marketing themselves and their candidates.
While canvassing for votes, political players should adhere to issue-based campaigns instead of trading blows, insults or indeed name-calling.
The desire to win over voters should not be the reason for tension and violence. Rather, it should be a reason to open people’s perspectives of what and how improve cities and towns.
Zambians are not interested in violence. What they want to see are political parties demonstrating harmony.
There should be no physical aggression aimed at opponents but tolerance and love towards each other.
There is need for tolerance among political players at all levels because Zambians are one people despite having different political and religious views.
Political parties and candidates should tell voters what they intend to do when elected.
The candidates should not only state what the problems are, but more importantly how they intend to effectively deal with the challenge.
For instance, how do the Lusaka candidates intend to permanently deal with the challenge of street vendors? Months after Government restored tranquillity and cleanliness on the streets, with the help of military personnel, the vendors are trekking back.
Lusaka residents are also interested in buying into the vision of candidates’ plan for the capital city, initially planned as a garden city. This is the status that residents want redeemed.
In the past, the media and police have been victims of violence by some political cadres.
The political rivals should allow journalists, the police and other stakeholders to do their work. Journalists are there to cover proceedings while the police presence is cardinal to forestall violence.
This is the first time that these elections are being held in some districts. It is important therefore that all stakeholders play their part in sensitising the electorate on the fact that they have to vote.
Many voters may not quite know that they have to vote in this election, considering that before the 2016 polls, election of mayors and council chairpersons was done by respective councillors.
Although these positions were determined by the public in 2016, many voters did so because they were embedded in the general elections that included the presidential and parliamentary polls.
The candidates and their respective political parties, as well as the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), must therefore redouble their efforts in sensitising the electorate that they (the voters) are the decision-makers in these polls.
With just a month to the polls, the voters should now start getting ready for election-day by ensuring that their required documents are in place. Don’t start looking for your voters’ cards and national registration cards a day before elections.
And so as the election campaigns begin, let everyone play their respective roles to ensure free, fair, credible and violence-free elections.

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