ROAN, BAHATI LITMUS TEST

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NOW that nominations are done in Roan and Bahati parliamentary constituencies, participating political parties should go flat out to campaign in a peaceful and civilised fashion.

It is time for political parties to engage in political discourse of developmental nature without resorting to violence or name-calling when in disagreement.

Violence is a draconian strategy of expressing displeasure and must be consigned to the trash can.

The Zambian political landscape has evolved over time to encompass advanced political dynamics which have no space for violence.

On that account, all political parties must embrace civility and look at an election as a sober contest in which the best emerges winner.

To avoid physical confrontations, political parties must not ferry cadres from other towns but campaign with the local membership.

We are glad that on this score, the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) has said it won’t ferry any cadres from outside the constituencies holding elections.

Secondly, participants must at all costs desist from alcohol abuse during campaigns to maintain civility and balanced thinking.

Alcohol usually contaminates the sense of judgement on consumers; decision-making takes a wrong dimension.

It is no wonder that perpetrators of violence during election campaigns have been found to have consumed considerable volumes of alcohol.

A drunken person disturbs peace and people all around him!

It is also advisable for political players not to stray in rivals’ camps or command posts because unsolicited interactions during campaign period usually degenerate into violence.

For instance, it would be a risky affair for PF members to venture into the National Democratic Congress (NDC) camp and vice-versa.

If the PF has set up camp at a particular guest house or lodge, NDC members must keep a safe distance as getting closer to such a location would be deemed the highest level of provocation.

Political leaders must ensure that none of their members venture into campaign areas with offensive weapons.

Law enforcement officers must be professional and alert as memories of the Sesheke by-election debacle are still fresh.

Of utmost importance, is the imperative need for all participating parties and their members to adhere to the law.

It is important for leaders and their members to acquaint themselves with the Electoral Process Act of 2016 which provides for the conduct of elections by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

This act also prescribes the procedure for conducting nominations in elections.

More importantly, this piece of legislation criminalises corrupt practices and other illegal undertakings related to elections. It also provides for penalties in connection with an election.

Members must also understand the Local Government Elections Act which proscribes bribery, personation and undue influence in the conduct of ward elections.

Overall, political leaders and their members on both sides of the political divide must embrace the Electoral Code of Conduct.

Perhaps, more focus will be on the Roan parliamentary by-election in Luanshya previously held by the flip-flopping politician, Chishimba Kambwili.

Mr Kambwili, who has lately been at the centre of political controversy, will have to prove his popularity through the NDC candidate.

He has done too much talking about his popularity and political career and now is time for him to prove his point in an election being held in his backyard.

All in all, all political parties participating in the polls in Bahati in Mansa, Roan in Luanshya and elsewhere in Local Government wards must stick to the law and co-exist.

 

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