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Politicians must sign no-violence pact – Vernon Mwaanga

By AARON CHIYANZO

POLITICAL party leaders must sign a no-violence pact prior to the August elections and set sanctions which will be strictly enforced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga has said.

And Dr Mwaanga called for the demilitarising of political party cadres ahead of the elections.

He said in an interview that political party leaders should not be avoiding one another or communicating through the media but should be talking amongst themselves.

Dr Mwaanga said the power to end political violence and ensure peaceful elections where people vote without fear of being brutalised lied with political leaders.

He said elections nowadays were marred with violence because leaders were behaving as if they were enemies.

Dr Mwaanga said politics was not about violence but that it was a competition of ideas so that the ultimate “bosses,” the voters decide who they want.

He urged political party leaders to train and discipline their cadres so that they understand that politics was not about violence.

Dr Mwaanga said Zambia had in the recent past earned itself a bad name because of the political violence that has rocked the country during elections.

He said ECZ must be engaged so that parties could agree on ground rules as the country heads towards elections which would attract sanctions if abrogated.

“Leaders have to sign a no-violence pact as we head to the elections. They should not be talking at each other through the media but should be talking to each other. Enforcement agencies must also act on violent cadres regardless of their political affiliations,” Dr Mwaanga said.

He said it was the duty of political leaders to ensure that their supporters do not destabilise the country before, during and after elections.

Dr Mwaanga said the fighting among political leaders must be stopped.

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