The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) would like to encourage political parties to continue conducting their campaigns in a peaceful manner and strive by all means to ensure that party members and supporters abide by the provisions of the laws which govern elections in the country. As the campaign mood begins to heat up, political parties in their efforts to subdue political opponents and win over voters will likely engage in all sorts of actions some which might violate the law. We therefore want all leaders to ensure that they remain fully in charge of people who will be campaigning on their behalf. The leaders must in the same vain consider themselves responsible for actions of their supporters and that Zambians will not only judge the direct offenders but will also hold beneficiaries responsible for the violations.
SACCORD also regrets the incidence at the PF rally in Kabwe when an alleged supporter of PF president Lungu engaged in politics of character assassination against the UPND President. As SACCORD we wish to acknowledge the apology issued by the Acting President and the PF secretary General to the UPND President for the inappropriate language used against him in Kabwe-we hope the PF Party President will also condemn such conduct. Campaigns based on verbal abuse do not help the people of Zambia have a clear basis on which to judge Presidential candidates. Political rallies should be used as a platform for political parties to sell their ideals, ideas and manifestos to the members of the public so that they can make an informed decision on who they should vote for. We urge our leaders, both in opposition and government, to look out for divisive characters so that they do not spoil their images just in the interest of pleasing them. Political leaders should be made to account for their promises during campaigns; therefore, the issue of focusing on ideas cannot be overemphasized.
We have also noted with concern the views from various members of the public who feel that these elections may be compromised as a result of the involvement of third parties whose roles are not clear but may be interested to benefiting a certain candidate. We would like to urge the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ensure that it continues to build stakeholder confidence in the electoral process by ensuring that all their actions are transparent. We also note the positive improvements that the commission has continued to make in ensuring that suspicions are reduced whenever there are elections.
SACCORD also urges the stakeholders in the electoral process to ensure that these elections are properly monitored. We urge NGOs and Political parties that will deploy monitors to ensure that only genuine people are engaged so that the outcome of the coming elections is determined by the decisions of the voters not a few individuals who may want to benefit from the current system. The Zambian people must look out for such and ensure that they do not tamper with the will of the people.
Finally we would like to wish all the people in Zambia a peaceful festive period and a violent free campaign period in the lead up to the 20th January 2015 elections.