PEACE is a very expensive commodity and yet easy to lose.
For instance, the peace Zambia has been enjoying for the past five decades cost the country’s forefathers huge sacrifices, including life.
However, the aftermath of the August 11, 2016 general elections, which were marred by some pockets of violence reminds citizens of how fragile peace can be.
It is for this reason that we should never tire to preach peace at every opportunity available.
We need to ensure that every Zambian assimilates the importance of peace and their responsibility towards maintaining it.
We, therefore, join Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili in calling for peaceful by-elections in Lunte, Itezhi-Tezhi, Kanchibiya and Lavushimanda.
The by-election in Itezhi-Tezhi has been necessitated by the death of the incumbent council chairperson while those for Kanchibiya, Lavushimanda and Lunte follow the creation of new districts.
As the four districts hold local government by-elections to choose council chairpersons tomorrow, we implore the electorate to heed the minister’s wise counsel to maintain peace.
Rev Sumaili, who is in Lunte to drum up support for the PF candidate Simon Chanda urged people in the area and other districts where by-elections are being held to remain peaceful, united and turn up in large numbers to choose their leaders tomorrow.
We know that during elections, emotions of candidates and supporters are usually heightened due to anxiety on whether they will carry the day or not.
For most candidates, this is much more because of the huge investment that goes into the campaigns.
During elections, it is also most likely for candidates and their supporters to be blinded by political ambition and engage in violent behaviour.
This has in some countries led to chaos and bloodshed.
This is because while it takes a lot of conscious efforts to maintain peace, it only takes one careless act or utterance to lose it.
It is for this that we implore political parties that have candidates in tomorrow’s by-election to approach the polls with utter sobriety.
As the minister has advised, voters should turn up in large numbers and remain peaceful and united.
Voters need to remember that Zambia is bigger than any individual or political party.
Beyond the political divide, all are sons and daughters of this great nation, which is considered a beacon of peace on the continent and beyond.
It is this legacy that all Zambians should be proud of and be ready to uphold as they go through any political poll.
‘One Zambia One Nation’ should not be a lip song but it should be reflected in everyone’s behaviour.
We are happy that so far the campaigns have been peaceful as confirmed by the minister, who is on the ground.
This is how all elections should be, regardless of magnitude and geographical location.
Given that electorates in Lunte and other districts have shown maturity, we expect them to go a step further to exercise their rights by voting for high calibre and credible candidates capable of delivering on promises.
Above all, the responsibility to uphold peace and unity lies squarely on each and every citizen.