UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has taken a very important move by following President Edgar Lungu’s foot prints of preaching peace to his supporters, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Reverend Pukuta Mwanza has said.
He commended Mr. Hichilema for the move, saying he had shown an example of a good leader.
“We would like to commend UPND president Mr. Hichilema for the brave move; this is what all leaders should emulate. President Lungu has done quite well in terms of maintaining peace, we need this peace to continue,” Rev. Mwanza said.
He urged other political party leaders to openly condemn violence and hate speech in the run up to the tripartite elections on August 11, this year.
Rev. Mwanza noted that peace was a necessary pre-requisite for holding free and fair elections.
He said there was need for politicians to safe guard and protect the peace Zambia had enjoyed over the years.
“I urge politicians to mainstream the message of peace in all their campaigns so that we don’t leave room for evil to triumph,” he said.
He reiterated that Mr. Hichilema’s message should not only refer to physical confrontations but should include any attacks or conflict such as tribal or emotional attacks.
Rev. Mwanza said cadres should be restrained from retaliation at all times even under extreme provocation.
He emphasised that Zambians would be looking forward to peaceful issue-based debates.
“Personal attacks and disparaging remarks against each other is disrespectful and unacceptable. Politicians should not degenerate the important electoral debates into unwarranted accusations and character assassination.
“Violence or insults are not campaign promises and therefore should not form part of the campaign messages at all times. Once again politicians should “mainstream ‘peace’ in their campaigns.” he said.
Rev. Mwanza also urged the Police to be professional and ensure that the Public Order Act did not become a source of discomfort for some and a tool for others.
He added that all Zambians should feel protected and supported to exercise their fundamental freedoms.