ELECTIONS are not wars neither are they about conquerors and the defeated and that political parties must, therefore, avoid insults and hate language against their opponents to promote a zero violence political atmosphere, first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda has said.
Dr Kaunda said a violence-free political atmosphere was possible if leaders of various political parties committed themselves to peaceful campaigns devoid of malice and hate messages.
Dr Kaunda in his message captioned ‘Towards peaceful 2016 elections’, said it was pleasing that Zambians gathered at the Show Grounds for National Prayers in a quest to have peace before, during and after the general elections on Thursday.
He said he had noticed that anxieties and tensions were growing as the country was approaching the Election Day which he said had in some cases resulted in violence.
Dr Kaunda said Zambians should always remember where they had come from and that after independence, citizens worked together in unity which had solved the worrying problem of inter-party violence.
He said under his rule, Zambians from various backgrounds of ethnicity, region, origin and religion were united and that he gladly accepted the wishes of Zambians to return to multi-party democracy which ushered in the Third Republic.
“When many say ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ that is real. We mean it. Yes, ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ is not a mere slogan. We are all brothers and sisters. At this time of elections, we must remember that despite coming from different political parties, we are one. My friends, voting is a right we must exercise and we must also allow others to enjoy it,” Dr Kaunda said.
Dr Kaunda said it was worrying that as the country was approaching the general election on Thursday, there had been violence amongst political parties and appealed to leaders of political parties to make sure their members reached zero violence.
He advised that political party cadres should never be turned into militia groups or troops and warriors but that they should be considered as colleagues.
“Some factors encourage violence. These include insults and hate speech. They include alcohol consumed by political cadres. Political parties must move away from alcohol amongst their campaign members and when a dispute occurs, political leaders and cadres should not act arbitrary but should take the matters to police and responsible institutions,” Dr Kaunda said.