Political parties should desist from declaring certain areas as their strongholds as this is one of the main causes of political violence, says Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe.
He said the ruling party should take a lead in stopping calling some parts of the country as their strongholds to stop the spread of political violence..
Mr Ntewewe named the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) as the main culprits who have dissected the country into the so-called no-go areas.
‘’ The PF and the UPND should stop declaring certain areas in the country as their strongholds; it is such behaviour that has caused political violence against each other. The ruling party should take the lead and be an example to all other parties,’’ he said.
He identified the Copperbelt, Lusaka, Southern, Eastern and North-Western to be provinces that are likely to record the highest number of incidents of political violence next year due the hold some parties had on them.
He said Zambia was a democracy and that it was undemocratic for some parties to stop or interrupt other political aspirants’ campaigns in certain areas because they believed they ‘‘owned’’ those areas.
‘’ The issue of strongholds has to come to an end before next year; as YALI we have researched and concluded that it is one of the main causes of political violence. Let everyone campaign wherever they want, without any interference, that is what democracy is about,’’ he said.
He said Zambia had for the past 50 years been an oasis of peace and this should be maintained. He said it would be sad to see a country that has toiled for so long to maintain peace and unity break down into civil strife.
Mr Ntewewe said it was the same political violence that prompted Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and former president Kenneth Kaunda to form a one party-state and it would be unfair for Zambians to be subjected to such treatment again.
‘’ Zambia has maintained peace for 50 years and it would be sad after all these years for war to break out like in some countries nearby. It was the same kind of political violence that prompted Zambia to be turned into a one party-state. These political parties should not subject the people to such conditions,’’ he said.
Mr Ntewewe said all political parties should check themselves before condemning violence. He said that some political leaders were fond of condemning violence when their parties where the culprits.