Our Presidential Election has come and gone. This has been one of the most closely contested elections in the 50 year history of our country.
I wish to congratulate all the eleven candidates who took part. My special commendation is reserved for the UPND candidate Hakainde Hichilema and his PF counterpart Edgar Lungu for giving the just ended campaigns their all .
It is a unfortunate that there had to be one winner in the end , after what amounted to a statistical dead-heat. This is the painful aspect of democracy .
I congratulate Edgar Lungu for his narrow victory in an election, which could have gone the other way. Elections everywhere, divide families and friends, but let us remember that there were no enemies in this election, but mere opponents.
We are all Zambians and have a right to make our political choices. The challenges of our 6th President now that the election is done and dusted, is to heal reconcile and unite our deeply divided country and make our national motto of “one zambia,one nation” a reality once again. He should be seen to be a President of all Zambians , including those who did not vote for him in accordance with his oath of office.
There should be no retribution or vengeance. He should live up to his campaign promises and deliver a new Constitution in readiness for the 2016 tripartite elections, so that the country does not have to go through another election of this nature ever again . Our defective Constitution is responsible for what we have just gone through. It is not right to elect any President on such a low base of citizen approval and even the final draft constitution which was released last October, is far from being satisfactory.
There will be need for stakeholders to meet urgently to meet and genuinely consult and agree on some of the contentious clauses. Our electoral system is flawed and requires urgent reforms.
The UPND President Hakainde Hichilema demonstrated great maturity by being magnanimous in defeat, notwithstanding some serious problems he pointed out.
These are good leadership qualities, because he put the interests of Zambians above personal bitterness and disappointment pf losing such close election .
Leadership is about the supreme interests of our people and country. Zambia is bigger and greater than all of us. Painful and undesirable as this result may be, we should put our differences aside, move on and get on with our daily lives peacefully as we prepare for the 2016 General Elections.
Let us all commit ourselves to peaceful co-existence and declare “never,never and never again shall we allow a culture of violence, to become part of our national culture.
Dr Vernon J Mwaanga