The three Church Mother bodies have condemned the political violence that erupted in Sesheke and Lundazi’s Mkomba Ward during the just-ended by-election campaigns in the two respective areas.
In a statement signed by the Council of Churches in Zambia, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church Mother bodies expressed concerns that the rising political violence in the country was like a ticking time bomb getting ready to explode ahead of the 2021 general election, if left unresolved.
“We, the three Church Mother bodies, namely: the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), are deeply concerned with the reported political violence that characterised the by-elections in Sesheke and Mkomba Ward in Lundazi. What is most disheartening is that this violent behaviour is not new; it has been happening since 2008 at every election time and yet politicians and their supporters do not seem to learn,” the statement issued, Tuesday, read.
“Looking at what transpired in Sesheke and Mkomba, we wish to advise the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) that going forward, they must use the power given to them by the Constitution and the Electoral Process Act, especially the provisions provided for on this matter. If to make promoters of violence learn means disqualifying them from participating in an election, so be it. This may send a message to all that violence can no longer be tolerated in Zambia. We say so because the reported political violence in the two named areas have the potential to cause serious problems going into 2021 if left unresolved. It is like a time bomb, which is ready to explode any time if this violent behaviour by political parties is not quelled. This is why the national dialogue and reconciliation must not fail. It will help the country to have violent-free elections in 2021.”
The Church Mother bodies also condemned the reported attack of a Catholic priest in Sesheke by suspected PF cadres
“We believe that violence cannot and will never be a way of resolving conflicts anywhere on earth. Instead, we would like to appeal to all political parties and stakeholders in the country to come to the round-table for a true and sincere dialogue. We are also disheartened to learn that a Catholic priest in Sesheke was attacked and abused by cadres. This is not only disrespectful to the Church, but also is a curse upon the attackers themselves. We pray to God that those who attacked the priest may be forgiven so that they learn that the premises of the Church are sacred grounds and natural for all God’s children to seek refuge and find love and joy. It is not a place for political battles,” it stated.
And the three Church Mother bodies wondered why the police had not arrested any of the cadres involved in the violence in Sesheke and Mkomba Ward.
“It is strange that despite all the pleas and several condemnations and calls for violence-free elections, politicians are failing to contain their cadres from being violent. It is unacceptable that all institutions in Zambia that are given the power to curb this vice can fail to curb political violence when there are laws in place that can be applied to stop this political cancer, which is slowly eating up the nation during every election. We wonder why the Zambia Police have failed to make any arrests from the reported attacks by political party cadres in both Sesheke constituency and Mkomba Ward. Failure by the Zambia Police to arrest violent political party cadres is sending an impression that anyone can do anything they feel like even when it endangers the safety of others. We, therefore, call on the Zambia Police to professionally follow-up all these matters so that political sanity can come back to our country,” read the statement.