Church calls for peaceful polls

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Two Church bodies in Lusaka have demanded that all political parties participating in the forthcoming Mpongwe and Livingstone parliamentary by-elections should practice violent free campaigns prior, during and after the polls.

The two are Independent Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) and the Christian Coalition Zambia (CCZ).

ICOZ Board Chairperson David Masupa denounced all forms of violence being perpetuated by party cadres as the election date nears the polls slated for February 28.

Reverend Masupa lamented that despite political parties preaching against violence, what was obtaining on the ground is contrary.

Rev Masupa urged political parties to match their words with action to avoid bloodshed and save the innocent souls from being killed unnecessarily.

He described the move taken by the ruling Patriotic Front’s plan in Southern Province to go on a seven-day prayer and fasting for peace and tranquility to prevail as a good gesture prior to the by- elections.

The ICOZ Board Chairperson said the gesture by the ruling PF should act as an inspiration to other political parties in the country.

And the Christian Coalition Zambia says it sees nothing wrong with the ruling party pulling out of the Joint Political Parties’ Peace Accord for as long as a particular party does not engage in disorderly conduct that disturbs peace.

CCZ Secretary General Alick Mbewe said in a separate interview with ZANIS that PF is determined to upholding peace in accordance with tenets enshrined in the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s Electoral Code of Conduct.

“It’s not a matter of appending oneself a signature to the Peace Treaty but what matters is the way the political cadres behave during campaigns and subsequent elections,” Bishop Mbewe said.

Bishop Mbewe said Zambia should shine as a hub of peace at both regional and international level because of the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation.

Recently, two people died in separate incidences during political campaigns in Rufunsa and Livingstone, a move which attracted wide-spread condemnation from amongst the parties themselves, the church including civil society organizations.