THE Senior Citizens Association of Zambia has appealed to the next republican President to embrace the losers and appreciate their contributions for enhancing democracy in the country.
And association executive director Rosemary Sishimba said peace after elections should be maintained because in an event of conflict and civil strife it was the elderly and vulnerable people who were usually affected.
Ms Sishimba said in an interview yesterday that the winner should embrace the losers for the sake of harmony in the country.
She urged the losers to accept the results and work hard so that in the next elections people would vote for them.
“We pray that whoever emerges as the winner (he or she) will embrace the losers. Don’t make them (losers) look small, but appreciate their efforts because this is democracy.
“For those who will not make it, they should accept the results and hope for the best next time. After all, we shall be voting again next year.
They should just work hard and strengthen their parties so that they can make an impact on the people,” she said.
Ms Sishimba said although holding the election was an expensive exercise, it was necessary to do so for the sake of democracy. She commended the people for exercising their right to vote and choose their next head of State.
And Ms Sishimba said people should value peace which the country has been enjoying for a long time and preserve it, adding that if conflicts broke out, the old people would be victims because they were usually defenseless.
“Peace is very important, where there are conflicts the older persons are the ones who take the blont because we cannot run and we cannot be protected, so peace is valuable,” she said.
Ms Sishimba also appealed to the next president to continue with programmes started by President Michael Sata such as operationalisation of social protection programmes for vulnerable groups including the elderly. She said the national aging policy and social protection policy which was approved but shelved should be enacted and operationalised.
“We want to see them being put into effect because those two policies will alleviate poverty of those who are vulnerable. Further we want the new leader to consider social pensions for the older persons; social pensions that are given to all those who have reached the age of 66, which can be agreed upon whether they worked or they didn’t, but because of their age they qualify for that social pension,” she said. Ms Sishimba also said the social cash transfer scheme should be extended to cover the whole country because the facility has alleviated suffering of the most vulnerable in community. She said more vulnerable people without sustainable income should benefit from the social cash transfer scheme.