The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry on Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence says electoral violence is a new and alien phenomenon in Zambian politics which the people of Zambia should reject with the contempt it deserves.
Justice Munalula Lisimba , says through the Commission which Government has established to inquire into the voting patterns and electoral violence from 2006 to 2016, Zambians have the opportunity to roundly and loudly reject electoral violence by recommending appropriate measures that should be taken to avoid a recurrence of the scourge.
He says if left unchecked, electoral violence has the potential to erode the positive gains Zambia has achieved in democratic governance since the introduction of multiparty politics in 1991 for which the country is admired world-over.
“This Commission of Inquiry is critical in helping us get to the root cause of the electoral violence that has been witnessed in our country in the recent past, in particular during the 2016 general elections. We have to ask questions such as ‘what happened, how did it happen, where did it happen, who was involved and who were the victims…. After this we will have to analyse the evidence that will be submitted to us by various people, and there-after recommend concrete measures to forestall future such occurrences,” said Justice Lisimba when he featured on a live CBC television programme dubbed “RoundTable” hosted by the television’s presenter Francis Kope in Lusaka this morning.
He added: “when there is violence during elections, voters fear to go out and cast their votes and this can seriously undermine the country’s democracy.”
Justice Lisimba further observed that the apparent inclination for some people to resort to violence whenever aggrieved, is lawless and unacceptable as grievances should be resolved in the courts of law and not through violence. That is anarchy.
He urged the general public to come forward and make submissions to the Commission when its starts its public hearings at Nakatindi hall in Lusaka on Monday next week.
“The Commission will hold public hearings at Nakatindi hall at the civic centre in Lusaka for three days from Monday through to Wednesday next week. I urge members of the public to come forward and make submissions to the Commission. The Commission will later move to other twonships in the capital city such as Mtendere, Chawama, Matero and Chilenje and there-after the rest of the country,” said Justice Lisimba.
President Edgar Lungu appointed the 15 member Commission of Inquiry on Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence on 21st October, 2016. The Commission was consequently sworn in by Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima on 28th October, 2016.
The mandate of the Commission is to inquire into the voting patterns in the general elections conducted from 2016 to 2016 and the electoral violence that characterized the 2016 general elections in order to come up with recommendations that will prevent the occurrence of violence in future elections and ensure that voting outcomes are reflective of the people’s free will.