Zambia: Coalition for Peaceful Elections Welcome

Flag of Zambia.

As Zambia starts a one-month countdown to this year's general election, it is important to remind everyone of the need for the country to emerge from this poll more united and peaceful.

Peace has been Zambia's major commodity and a comparative advantage over a lot other countries in the region and beyond for a long time now.

The country can, therefore, not afford to lose peace especially that once you lose it, it is difficult to regain it fully.

It is not by chance that the country has been held together for the last 57 years following its independence from the colonial masters in 1964.

With 29 days to the election day, there is need for the political leaders to continue working towards enhanced unity and peaceful co-existence among different political parties with divergent views and ideological positions.

We, therefore, hail the coming together of a number of organisations including some members of the civil society organisations (CSOs) who are championing the peaceful 2021 general elections.

The Coalition for Peaceful Elections in Zambia (CPEZ) is being co-convened by the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) and the Church Mother Bodies (CMB).

The effort has brought together strategic organisations whose main goal is to prevent electoral violence that was witnessed in past elections and recently in some parts of the country.

Other members are the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) and the Zambia Federation of Disability Organisations (ZAFOD).

Yet others are the Zambia Police Service, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia, the National Youth Development Council (NYDC) and Transparency International Zambia.

The coalition which is being supported by the Commonwealth and the United Nations now says that the political parties which are contesting the 2021 presidential election are set to sign a peace pledge tomorrow.

The ceremony is expected to take place at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

This is part of the parties' efforts to reaffirm their commitment to peaceful campaigns and upholding peace before, during and after elections as all Zambians desire.

Like the conveners of the meeting indicated, we are optimistic that the move would bind political parties morally and ensure they speak peace to the nation.

This will happen while taking necessary steps to address acts of electoral violence which have reared their ugly heads among some political cadres in recent past.

We expect that the peace pledge will remind the political parties that they cannot rule a country that falls into conflict and, therefore, should strive to preserve peace at whatever cost.

Indeed the peace pledge is critical towards sustaining that essential commodity in Zambia as it is expected to be signed by the presidents of the political parties.

Truly, party leadership is always instrumental in determining how supporters conduct themselves towards others, even as they go about campaigning.

We optimistically note that the peace pledge, among others, requires parties to campaign peacefully and avoid any acts of violence by their members.

Indeed, political leaders should continue giving peace a chance!

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