ZAMBIA: Bishops Warn Politicians Against Violence Ahead of Elections

LUSAKA JULY 22, 2016(CISA)-Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has warned politicians against instigating violence ahead of next month’s General Elections.

In a pastoral letter read by Kasama Diocese Archbishop Ignatius Chama on July 17, at the end of the celebrations of 125 years of Catholicism in Zambia held at St Annes Cathedral Parish, the prelates said Zambians were expecting the politicians to focus on key governance and developmental issues that would help the electorate make informed decisions.

“Democracy requires in the first place that all citizens exercise their right to vote in a free and peaceful environment. Much as we are proudly acclaimed for being a peaceful country, we should never talk things for granted,” the bishops stated.

They noted that given the increasing incidents of politically motivated violence and continued tension between members of the political parties, the record of being peaceful was increasingly being threatened.

“We are afraid that if the current spate of violence was not cured may have a serious impact on the voter turnout as many eligible voters might fear going to vote due to security concerns,” said the bishops.

“As we have often noted, the free will of the people in the hallmark of the any credible election. We must therefore pay particular attention to key aspects that can enhance or reduce and even negate the credibility of the forthcoming elections. Some of the key conditions for any elections to be peaceful, credible and transparent include peaceful atmosphere,” the bishops said.

They further reminded Zambians that voting is one of the fundamental rights and duties of every citizen and appealed to all not to be cheated and bribed during the elections.

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