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POLICE must investigate thoroughly the cowardly attack on a Socialist Party aspiring candidate for the Katuba parliamentary seat, Mr  Cephas Twende on Monday morning.

Apparently, Mr Twende was attacked on his way to the nomination centre in Kabangwe by two unidentified men who trailed him in a vehicle.

The attack has obviously been a terrible ordeal such that it has even forced Mr Twende to withdraw from the race.

This should not be accepted in Zambia that people aspiring for political office must be attacked physically so as to stop them from fulfilling their political ambitions.

Zambians have always been very accommodative of individuals aspiring for political office – even those who do not deserve a single vote.

To our knowledge, the attack on the Socialist Party candidate is the first on an aspiring candidate as the nation heads to the August 12 tripartite elections.

We do not want to start guessing as to what could have been the motive for the attack – whether it was to stop Mr Twende from filing his candidature among his competitors within the Socialist Party.

Or could it have been criminal?

Narrating his ordeal in an interview, Mr Twende said he left home around 08:00 hours for Kabangwe but noticed that a Toyota Harrier was trailing him and when he was approaching Mauzu, two men stopped him.

Mr Twende, who was speaking from Matero Level One Hospital explained that he stopped because he thought the two men wanted to ask for directions.

But to his surprise, the duo manhandled him and got away with his Grade 12 certificate and his tax certificate.

“I couldn’t recognise them because they were wearing face masks and the vehicle had no number plate but it was a Toyota Harrier.”

The attack is reminiscent of what often reads in a novel.  However, in Mr Twende’s case, this was a real life experience.

As we noted yesterday in our editorial, the nomination process has so far proceeded without any ugly incident.

This is even more impressive because the nominations for the two front-runners – PF’s Edgar Lungu and UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema – all proceeded peacefully.

Yet this was where one could have expected trouble of some sort breaking out.

Zambians have committed themselves to ensuring that this year’s elections are held in a peaceful manner so that only the ballot box must decide who must hold the reins of power.

Whoever did not want Mr Twende to stand as a member of Parliament should have gone through the Socialist Party structures or even filed as an independent if they felt they had been treated unfairly.

But to have resorted to hooliganism over political differences is uncalled for.

This is the more reason why we urge the Zambia Police to get to the bottom of this assault on Mr Twende.

The nation needs to know whether it was politically-motivated or simply common criminals.

The whole world has its eyes focused on Zambia which has an impressive history of holding peaceful elections.

This is why even President Lungu can confidently invite the international community to send election observers because he has that confidence that peace would prevail.

No one wants to see someone killed or maimed over the election as it should not be regarded as a matter of life and death.

Let all political stakeholders canvass for votes by articulating issues on how they hope to improve the lives of the people and not by resorting to physical confrontations.

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