Zambia drifting into regionalism – commission

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 13:38:32 +0000

By ANDREW MUKOMA

THE Commission of inquiry on the voting pattern and political violence has observed that the country is slowly drifting into regionalism and block voting as witnessed in the 2016 general elections.

And the commission has apologised to the people of Lukulu District in Western province for its failure to reach the area due to heavy rain that has cut off the area from the rest of the province.

Speaking during a media briefing after paying a courtesy call on acting Livingstone District Commissioner Harriet Kawina in Livingstone on Sunday, Commission Chairperson Munalula Lisimba said that it was worrying to see how electorate voted in the previous elections where regionalism and block voting was the order of the day. Justice Lisimba charged that failure to find a solution to that problem the country was risking its democratic status it was known for to the rest of the world.

He said from the sittings in last eight provinces held so far, the response from the public had been overwhelming adding that people from diverse backgrounds, both young and old had made submissions.

“We are delighted to be in Southern Province and so far, we have covered eight provinces and Southern Province will be the ninth.

“In the province, we are going to touch seven districts starting with Livingstone, Choma, Namwala, Dundumwezi in Kalomo, Gwembe, Monze and Mazabuka,” he said.

“We were supposed to have been here in January but we postposed due to logistical challenges. The commission has received tremendous response from the areas we have visited so far. I am happy with the turnout,” he said.

“I would like to encourage the people of Southern Province to turnout in numbers and give their submissions. We want to know what caused the violence that was reported in this province…we also want know why this country is slowly drifting into regionalism and block voting like we saw in 2016,” he said.

Justice Lisimba the regionalism and block voting which the country experienced in the past elections had the potential to dent the democracy which Zambia is known for.

“The commission is confident the response in the province will be the same as those from other provinces. As a nation, we want to find a lasting solution to the electoral violence and voting patterns we have seen in recent years, which, if not nipped in the bud, has potential

to undermine our democracy, peace unity, credentials Zambia is admired for world over,” he said.

“We do not know where this comes from…We do not where it starts from so, I am appealing to the people of Southern Province to make submissions and I am encouraging political parties to turn up in numbers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Kawina has told the commission that Livingstone was spared from the violence that was reported in other parts of the province.

Ms. Kawina said that in Livingstone, the case was different as people from different political parties conducted their campaigns in harmony and in unity.

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