Former defense minister George Mpombo says Zambia will be turned into a war zone if police and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) do not immediately address political violence.

In an interview, Mpombo said politicians must avoid using political blood-curdling language on podiums but rather, speak with decorum against their political opponents.

“What we are witnessing now, each time there is an election is a flood of character assassination, political mark wrecking and all sorts of things that do not add value to the democratic process but tends to divide. And also, it does not entertain any sense of responsibility, respect or values to the political cadres. And also the Electoral Commission of Zambia must bear a stiff because at the moment, people can get away with murder. Where is ECZ and the police to allow this kind of political mayhem to overtake the political scene with reckless abandon? So, these are issues that need serious attention. Otherwise, as we get to 2021, any area where there will be an election will be a war zone,” Mpombo said.

He noted that politicians had a tendency of dissecting and cutting their opponents into pieces, thereby fueling tension and hatred among their followers.

“And secondly, the political blood-curdling language, where political leaders instead of discussing issues, they engage in political blood-curdling language. And when you have this environment, you create a situation of political pandemonium. So the politicians themselves, when they get to the podium, they must speak with decorum against their fellow political leaders. What we have is a situation where top political leaders when they get to the podium, they dissect and cut into pieces their political opponents as if they are the ones that are standing in the election. So that kind of thing fuels tension and hatred. It is important that we do not create a situation which will lead to a collapse of democratic values in the country,” Mpombo said.

Mpombo condemned the practice of ferrying cadres to areas where by-elections were taking place.

“Political violence during elections are a severe setback to the democratic process. It hinders and stifles the growth of democracy in the country. You see democracy is a fight for ideas and not destruction of opponents. In order to restore political order, political goons should be screened and not allowed into areas where by-elections are taking place. So the idea of transporting toxic political cadres from other provinces into the area where there is an election tend to fuel political tension because these toxic political cadres come with weird political idea. And those are usually primed by financial considerations. So when you bring awkward political cadres with twisted political ideologies being fuelled by financial handouts, you create an environment where there is no control,” said Mpombo.