THERE is no need for political contenders in next month’s presidential election to employ violence in a contest which should be dominated by intellectual reasoning in canvassing for the votes.
Political violence would never resolve poverty levels which have remained above 50 per cent in a population of 13 million Zambians or reduc…e unemployment levels which are equally excruciating.
Violence can not answer the need for good laws nor guarantee enhanced liberties.
In a country such as Zambia which has remained largely under-developed in the last 50 years of independence, it is important that political parties exert their energies on educating Zambians on how to tackle the social and economic ills of the country rather than resort to physical confrontation.
This is what most Zambians would want to listen to as they attend the rallies which are being conducted by various political players.
Political players should be candid enough to state clearly that which they intend to do and how they will do it instead of making blanket promises which from experience have ended up annoying citizens.
Those addressing farmers should have ideas on how to develop the agriculture sector and how to reduce the cost of doing business. Over the years, farmers have been reduced to beggars after supplying their maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
As it stands today, we have disturbing reports that farmers are being arrested and detained for demanding to be paid for the maize they delivered to FRA.
It is the expectation of Zambians that those addressing the mining sector and other critical economic sectors must also have possible solutions to bottlenecks in such fields.
In the other words, Zambians need a knowledgeable political cadre with possible solutions to the many social and economic ills in the country.
The current political contenders should break with the past and engage Zambians to find possible solutions to the economic, social and political challenges the country is facing.
Violence in the political affairs of the country cannot resolve the problems that continue afflicting the citizens and must never be tolerated by any political leader seeking political office.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia’s advice to political parties to conduct their campaigns in a peaceful manner is apt and it is our hope that the political leaders participating in the coming presidential election must respect and adhere to the electoral code of conduct.
At a meeting with presidential candidates in Lusaka yesterday, Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson Irene Mambilima said all political parties should conduct themselves in a responsible and peaceful manner to allow the electorate elect a leader of their choice.
Politics is a contest of intelligent ideas and this means that instead of the contest turning physical, it should take up the direction of civility and it is our desire to see those seeking leadership sharing platforms to debate on how best they will govern the country so that citizens can be given an opportunity to interact with them.
We have never seen our politicians competing for leadership sharing a platform to articulate the country’s challenges and it is unacceptable that the people aspiring to lead the country cannot talk to the same people they aspire to lead.
In other democracies, we have seen contenders debate on an array of national issues and shake hands thereafter but in Zambia, it is acrimony that characterise the political space.
It is time to compete on ideas.