The Oasis Forum says it is extremely disappointed that both PF and UPND have continued to engage in political violence despite signing a peace pact last year.
And the Oasis Forum has called on President Edgar Lungu to publicize the findings by the Commission of Inquiry into voting patterns and electoral violence to establish the sources and causes of political violence.
In a statement, Thursday, signed by Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Eddie Mwitwa, who is Oasis Forum chairperson, Council of Churches (CCZ) general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya, Non-Governmental Gender Organization Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson Mary Mulenga and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) secretary general Fr Cleophas Lungu, Mwitwa said it was obvious that both parties had no regard for the rule of law.
“The Oasis Forum joins the nation in condemning the political violence that took place in Kaoma recently which resulted in the death of one person and a few others injured. Oasis Forum is extremely disappointed that even after the PF and UPND political parties signed a peace pact last year, this is being violated by the same people that agreed to carry out peaceful and issue-based campaigns. It is obvious that the political cadres from both the ruling g PF and opposition UPND, have no respect for the rule of law, let alone regard for their leaders if they can disregard with impunity, such an important agreement. We condemn this violence in the strongest terms,” read the statement.
Mwitwa expressed sadness that cadres were engaged in cold blood murder just to win a council by-election and feared for what was to come in the 2021 elections if the behavior of the cadres was not contained.
He stated that police should be allowed to work without interference if violence was to come to an end.
“It is extremely sad that cadres are now engaging in cold blooded murder just to win a by-election! The Zambia Police should also be allowed to work without any political interference if we want to see this violence come to an end. The Kaoma by –election is just a by-election for Council Chairperson and yet a life has been lost. As Oasis Forum we shudder to imagine what will happen in 2021 if the behavior of these political cadres is not contained. And we appeal to the Zambia police through its Command to be decisive as they carry out their work. It should not take a Presidential directive for the Command to act promptly especially where people’s lives are threatened. The work of the Zambia Police is to maintain law and order in the country and that is just what they should be doing with or without a presidential directive!” Mwitwa stated.
“We have painful memories of countries where political violence has gone unabated and the subsequent outcomes. We have only one Zambia and we clearly do not have a civil war in Zambia. Oasis Forum wonders what happened to our song 0ne Zambia one nation which was our pride even as we continue to sing in our
national anthem? Where are we as a Christian nation where we should be loving our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves? Does this become irrelevant in the political realm? We wonder!”
And Mwitwa asked President Lungu to publicize the findings by the Commission of Inquiry into voting patterns and electoral violence.
“We also take this opportunity to call upon the Republican President to publicize the findings by the Commission of Inquiry into Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence that the President set up in October 2016 following the 2016 General Elections, so as to establish and decisively deal with the causes and sources of the political violence,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mwitwa called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia to disqualify candidates from political parties found to be engaged in violence.
“Going forward, Oasis Forum is appealing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia to disqualify candidates from political parties found to be engaging in violent campaign strategies in any election. This should send a strong message to all political party players that one does not need to engage in violence or take away someone’s life to win an election,” stated Mwitwa.