The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has called on all political players participating in the Chilanga Parliamentary by-election slated for June 5, 2018 to conduct peaceful campaigns.
CCZ General Secretary, Emmanuel Chikoya has reminded political players that winning an election is not a desperate task or winning by any means necessary.
Fr. Chikoya stated that winning an election is not about slander campaigning, character assassination or inciting one group against another to score cheap political points.
He further said winning an election is not about using hate speech or offensive language but a contest of ideas, fighting for winning majority votes, selling of practicable policies and programs for improving the lives of the electorate.
The CCZ General Secretary observed that a free, fair and peaceful election is not hinged on just one political party alone working to ensure peace but on all political parties participating in an election.
He said all stakeholders in the Chilanga Parliamentary By-Election should have one goal of working hard to ensure a peaceful process during campaigns, on the day of voting and after the election.
Fr. Chikoya has reminded all participants in the by-election that the environment will be competitive but should remain peaceful and non-violent adding that the nation should remain united.
He added that all political players should have zero tolerance for violence within and outside their ranks stating that they should not only talk about peace but live in peace with themselves, their members and other political stakeholders.
Fr. Chikoya has challenged all participating political parties to be consistent in their condemnation of violence by upholding zero tolerance against violence both in private and public.
He noted that elections should be about credibility, integrity and trust in the candidates, their political ideology and the team with the required capabilities of managing the resources and assets competently for the benefit of majority of the electorate.
Fr. Chikoya has also called on the security agencies to be firm but fair and that they should not be seen to be siding with any political party because that will be a recipe for chaos.
And Fr. Chikoya has urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to superintend over the election in a very professional and transparent manner and decisively deal with violent political parties.
He has also advised the public media to offer fair coverage to all participating political parties.
Fr. Chikoya said the media in general should be factual and responsible in their reporting and avoid publishing unverified and alarming news that result in the breakdown of law and order.
This is contained in a statement released to ZANIS by Council of Churches in Zambia Communications Officer, Michael Mazakaza.