Zambian Voice Executive Director Chilufya Tayali has bemoaned the increasing levels of violence as the nation draws closer to the presidential by- elections on January 20.
Mr Tayali said political parties were busy accusing each other of perpetrating violence a thing he noted made sad reading.
He said this in a press statement to the media in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Tayali further said it was sad that there were also a number of materials such as pictures and video footage’s being uploaded on social media adding that organizations are also constantly showing graphic pictures of violence.
He noted that violence must be condemned at all cost especially during political campaigns.
Mr Tayali noted that the trend now was that if one failed to reason with their political opponent they resorted to violence adding that political campaigns should instead be about reasoning and issues.
Mr Tayali observed that candidates and their supporters should articulate issues and how they would achieve them instead of engaging in violence.
He urged political players to refrain from inciting or provoking each other by their messages.
He added that it has been noticed that some political parties are being malignant to other parties and candidates in the forthcoming election.
Mr Tayali said this was not only an electoral malpractice which should be condemned by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) but also provocation or incitement of violence.
He said names like “Panga Family”, “Ngombe ilende” and many others should be avoided at all cost during the campaign period adding that it was preposterous to cry victim of violence when one had provoked the situation.
He noted that violence is not just physical but verbal abuse as well and while two wrongs never make a right, so there can be no justification to a violent reaction.
“In most countries where violence has taken root it has been as a result of an abuse of modern communication tools such as social media, phones, television, radio and, daily tabloids”, Mr Tayali said.
Mr Tayali said it was therefore necessary to be conscious of the messages and pictures being transmitted otherwise it caused others to act violently depending on their conception of the message thereby setting the country on fire.
He stated that the media must at all times try to verify their reports with other professionals such as the police or medical doctors to avoid misleading the nation or blowing things out of proposition.
“We have a number of Zambians and other stakeholders outside the country who are worried that Zambia is on the verge of a turmoil because of what they are reading and seeing online and in the papers”, Mr Tayali said .
He said the sporadic incidences of violence should not be painted on the entire country.
“We must also recognize that Zambia is a sovereign State which is able to govern itself and resolve whatever difficulties we may have unless it becomes absolutely necessary for foreigners to come in,” Mr Tayali said.
Mr Tayali noted that political parties should not be quick to call on international agencies and institutions to come and sort out their differences particularly on political violence that has recently been happening.
“We have a system and structures of sorting out difficulties which we should exhaust before we call for external help. The police must also be swift to act when cases of violence ensue anywhere, Mr Tayali said
Mr Tayali also urged the police to be impartial and professional in handling cases of violence.