The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has called on President Edgar Lungu and opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to ensure all elections in the country are peaceful and violence free.

According to a statement issues by CCZ communications officer Michael Mazakaza, Monday, CCZ General Secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya was commenting on President Lungu’s directive to the Zambia Police last week to deal with perpetrators of political violence and the signing of the non-violence pact between the PF and the UPND.

Fr Chikoya said the buck of ending political violence in the country rested on President Lungu and Hichilema.

“Fr Chikoya says the Church has decided to name the two leaders because they lead political parties whose cadres have been the perpetrators of political violence. Fr Chikoya says the two leaders must ensure that they walk the talk as mere rhetoric will not resolve political violence in the country. He says peace must be in the DNA of the nation’s political leaders adding that there must be no justification for violence in Zambian politics. Fr Chikoya has since affirmed the PF-UPND non-violence pact saying that’s what the church expect from political players in the country,” Mazakaza stated.

He urged politicians to be patient and tolerant.

“He has called on the two political parties to exercise high levels of tolerance and patience.
And Fr Chikoya has expressed sadness over the continued outbreak of fires gutting markets in the country. He says the Church feels for the marketers over their repeated losses in fire infernos which he has described as unfortunate. He says the most saddening part of it is that a life was lost in the fire that gutted COMESA market in Lusaka a fortnight ago. He says authorities must endeavour to inform the public on what has been causing the fires as the nation has been seeking answers on what could be going wrong,” stated Mazakaza.

“He says as a nation there is need to learn from the past as fires gutting markets is not a new development in the country. Meanwhile, the CCZ General Secretary has commended Government and other stakeholders for encouraging people involved in burning charcoal to stop their environmentally harmful activities and instead engage into environmentally friendly businesses which will help protect the environment. Fr Chikoya says people involved in burning charcoal should adhere to alternatives introduced by Government such as planting fruit trees like oranges, pawpaw and guavas and those where they can harvest soft wood. He says all well-meaning Zambians must support Government efforts aimed at reducing deforestation in the country.”