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PF, UPND speak out on violence

INONGE Chamwanga (laying on the ground) a polling assistant at Sibanyati Primary School polling station in Choma being resuscitated after collapsing upon seeing stones throne into the centre around 21:00 hours on Monday. Police apprehended two men for allegedly smashing windows to the polling station. PICTURE: CHOMBA MUSIKA.

CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
TWO petitioners from the United Party for National Development (UPND) and Patriotic Front (PF) have told the commission of inquiry on voting patterns and electoral violence that their parties have started sensitising the youth on the need to desist from engaging in violence, especially during elections.
The political leaders said this yesterday when presenting oral and written submissions before the commission which is holding public sittings at Nakatindi Hall in Lusaka.
In October this year, President Lungu appointed a 15-member commission of inquiry to examine the causes of the political violence before and after the August 11, 2016 general elections.
The commission will also inquire into the voting patterns between 2006 and 2016 and the root causes of these patterns.
The inquiry will also examine to what extent the pre-election political violence could have influenced the voting patterns in the elections.
In his submission, UPND member Patrick Mucheleka, 50, said following the violence that characterised the August 11 general elections, there is need for all political parties to take an active role in preventing the recurrence of the vice.
Mr Mucheleka said his party has embarked on a civic education programme to sensitise its youths on the need to refrain from engaging in violence.
“We have a programme in which we are preaching to our youths not to engage in violence because we are in a democracy where our views will be challenged.
“We are urging them to embrace each other [with youths from other political parties] lest they end up harming their own relatives if they engage in political violence,” Mr Mucheleka said in response to commissioner Reuben Lifuka, who asked what measures his party is putting in place to discourage political violence, which is usually perpetrated by youth cadres. READ MORE
And making recommendations on the voting pattern, Mr Mucheleka said there is need to encourage all political parties to reach out to all parts on the country during campaigns.
He also recommended the repealing of the Public Order Act because it is a “very bad law” which is incompatible with multiparty politics.
And in his submission, PF director of youth secretariat John Phiri said the ruling party abhors political violence.
Mr Phiri, 38, said the PF is very saddened that some of its youths and those from opposition political parties engaged in violence in the just ended elections.
“We are currently working with non-governmental organisations such as the Young Leaders Initiative to see how best our young people can commit themselves to peace building,” he said.
Mr Phiri said youths from the PF, UPND and other political parties intend to conduct a march for peace.
He also said Government will continue to implement youth empowerment programmes to economically empower the youth in a bid to discourage them from engaging in violence.
Mr Phiri was responding to commissioner Wilfred Chilufya, who asked what measures the PF-led government is putting in place to prevent youths from engaging in violence as a means of earning a living.
He also acknowledged that both UPND and PF cadres engaged in violence during the last general elections.
And in his submission, Zambia Direct Democracy Movement president Charles Kafumba said once political leaders humble themselves and seek the Lord, political violence will be history.
“This animal [violence] is historical because there has been a lot of pride [among political leaders] and the Lord is calling us to be humble,” the 60-year-old said.
Mr Kafumba attributed the regional voting in the last elections to hate and tribal talk allegedly perpetrated by political party leaders during campaigns.

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