The Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) has appealed to Zambians to uphold peace and unity and the uphold the One Zambia One Nation spirit championed by late Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda, ahead of the August 12 general elections.
In a statement to the media, signed by 10 other clergy, ZCCB President, Archbishop of Kasama, Reverend Ignatius Chama said the forthcoming elections are not the first or last elections but a recurring event which should therefore not be marred with bloodshed.
Bishop Chama said Zambia is marked as a peace loving and beacon of peace in Africa whose inhabitants from different walks of life have for several years lived together in peace and unity.
He said the escalation of political violence the country is currently experiencing is a test to the record of peace held for many years.
He said for years the country has enjoyed peace and upheld the sanctity of life as sacred.
“Political contestation should not amount to mortal combat where life and property is lost for the sake of ascending to power, there is life before, during and after elections, therefore, let us be considerate and respectful of each other as all life is sacred and all life matters,” he said.
He reiterated that politics should be an issue based program of action for the people and appealed to political players to practice issue based politics and refrain from violence, hate speech, malice and bloodshed.
The Bishop said it was the hope of the church that the political parties who had signed the peace pledge will take full responsibility to ensure it translates into reality in order for a peaceful co-existence between different political affiliates and interests and peaceful elections to be achieved.
He said leadership comes through the ballot and appealed to the electorate not to be deceived but to choose leaders who are selfless, God fearing and passionate about Zambia and its people.