WE ARE thrilled that apart from the unfortunate incident of UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda who could not vote for himself because he did not have a national registration card, reports from around the country indicate that Zambians yesterday voted joyfully, peacefully and dutifully.
Apart from a few incidents where one or two voters, having been in queues for so long, exchanged a few harsh words, and the massive electoral machinery may have squeaked with age somewhere, it is quite clear that the 2016 general election and national referendum were a great success.
Zambians need to congratulate themselves for this great feat of maturity, democratic dispensation and national unity of purpose which many of our visitors who do not know us very well did not expect to happen.
It is incredible that more than six million Zambians thronged thousands of polling stations around the country and voted with one accord and for one purpose only – to decide the destiny of this great nation. As President Edgar Lungu said yesterday, indeed Zambians have come of age.
Reports coming in from all corners of the country indicate that the voting process was treated like a carnival where hundreds of people with different political affiliations jostled and joked around despite some of them being in queues for up to four hours.
Now as the most difficult part of the election process begins – counting of the ballots and announcement of the results – Zambians must continue to hold their peace and wait for the declaration of the official results.
We must never allow ourselves to be moved by rumour-mongering, sometimes generated for malicious intent, and believe unsubstantiated stories from the grapevine. Let us get glued to our radios and televisions and get the truth from the Electoral Commission of Zambia results centre which is now open until the election process is over.
In the same vein we appeal to the major stakeholders, especially the leaders of political parties, to refrain from commenting on the outcome of the elections unless they are sure of what they are talking about. In fact it would be better if they spoke through their spokespersons who are usually better informed.
We detest the habit of making wild assertions against the ECZ and its officers or against fellow political leaders. Some of our leaders must learn to curtail their insatiable appetite for grand-standing. They must learn to tame their tongues and remember that if Zambia burns, we all BURN.
We appeal to our brother and comrade Hakainde Hichilema to stop declaring himself the president of Zambia based on rumour or partial results. HH must learn to accept the huge responsibility that goes with aspiring for the presidency. He must know that his word is often taken for granted by his supporters, even if he does not mean what he says.
Let HH wait until the Electoral Commission of Zambia has announced results from the last polling centre. Even if the Parallel Voter Tabulations indicate he is winning, he must contain his excitement and show leadership by waiting for the official announcement.
If by any chance results indicate he is losing, again let him remain calm and ask his supporters to take it easy. There is more glory and statesmanship in accepting defeat. We believe HH’s assurance yesterday that as long as these elections are held in a transparent and credible manner, he will accept the outcome – win or lose.
These are noble words from a noble man.
Once again congratulations Zambia for shaming the devil by turning out massively to vote for candidates of your choice without let, hindrance or cohesion. Now let’s wait to hear who the next President of Zambia shall be.