LUSAKA JANUARY 26, 2016(CISA)-The Catholic Bishops of Zambia have called upon fellow church leaders to remain non-partisan, yet vigilant in the forthcoming elections.
The country will be holding tripartite elections in August 11, 2016 and the church has urged all Christians to promote unity in the country. The August 2016 tripartite elections will be the fifth major election.
“We urge them to refuse any politician to use their churches and liturgical functions as campaign forums. It is the duty of all Christians to use their prophetic voice to denounce all forms of fraud in the electoral process,” the bishops said in a statement dated January 23, addressed to Catholics and people of good will in Zambia.
The bishops released the statement as part of their annual plenary meeting of January of every year.
“Our country is moving towards tripartite elections. Zambians should be looking forward to this occasion with joy and great expectation. Ideally, elections are supposed to provide an opportunity of choosing our desired representatives in Councils, Parliament and a President of our choice in peace and tranquility,” the bishops said.
The Bishops however noted that, “Zambian politicians still suffer from a gross hangover of a one-party state mentality where the essence of political competition was seen as the quest to annihilate their opponents completely and at all cost,”
Coming from 2015 into 2016, what we often hear from political leaders is vulgar language and hate speech against each other. This does not give us hope for a clean and peaceful electoral process as we go towards the 11th August 2016 tripartite elections.
“Zambia is paying a great price through political hooliganism… We appeal for a new political spirit and a democratic culture among our political leaders and their members. Let us make 2016 different in terms of providing a better and tolerant political environment,” the bishops appealed.
The bishops also cautioned politicians against fanning tribal and ethnic talk urging them to bear in mind that, “if Zambia is set on fire, they will have nobody to govern.”
Our founding mothers and fathers invested a lot of energy to ensure that Zambians see and treat each other as brothers and sisters regardless of tribe, race or religion. Why should this be an issue in our politics today?,” the bishops posed.
The bishops did not fail to commend the country that even with the persistent culture of intolerance in politics, Zambia is still a functional multiparty.