THE on-going political campaigns ahead of the January 20, 2015 should continue being peaceful as the mood heats up, says the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD).
SACCORD executive director Boniface Chembe has advised all political parties to continue conducting their campaigns in a peaceful manner and strive to ensure that party members and supporters abide by the provisions of the laws which govern elections.
Mr Chembe said as the campaign mood begun to heat up political parties should avoid engaging in action which had the potential to cause violence in their efforts to subdue political opponents and win over voters.
“We want all leaders to ensure that they remain fully in charge of people who will be campaigning on their behalf.
“The leaders must in the same vain consider themselves responsible for actions of their supporters and that Zambians will not only judge the direct offenders but will also hold beneficiaries responsible for the violations,” he said.
Mr Chembe said SACCORD regrets the incidence at the PF rally in Kabwe when a supporter of PF engaged in politics of character assassination against UPND President Hakainde Hichilema.
He said the apology issued by the Acting President Dr Guy Scott and the PF secretary General Davies Chama to UPND president for the inappropriate language used against him in Kabwe clearly shows that PF condemns such conduct.
Mr Chembe said campaigns based on verbal abuse do not help the people of Zambia to have clear basis on which to judge presidential candidates.
“Political rallies should be used as a platform for political parties to sell their ideals, ideas and manifestos to the members of the public so that they can make an informed decision on who they should vote for,” he said.
And Mr Chembe advised ECZ not be compromised as a result of the involvement of third parties whose roles are not clear but may be interested in benefiting a certain candidate.
“We would like to urge the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ensure that it continues to build stakeholder confidence in the electoral process by ensuring that all their actions are transparent,” he said.
Mr Chembe also urged stakeholders in the electoral process to ensure that elections were properly monitored.
“We urge NGOs and political parties that will deploy monitors to ensure that only genuine people are engaged so that the outcome of the coming elections is determined by the decisions of the voters not a few individuals who may want to benefit from the current system,” he said.