By OLIVER SAMBOKO
AS traditional leaders we have a key role to play in ending political violence in the country ahead of the poll day by identifying and banishing our subjects that are engaging in violence, says Chief Sinazongwe of the Tonga people.
He observed that as the country was heading to the election, the rate of political violence has increased which has potential to cause voting apathy as some voters will shy away from going to vote for fear of being harmed.
“As chiefs we are custodians of our people and have to play a critical role in ensuring that the elections are held in a peaceful environment by ensuring that those causing trouble in our chiefdoms are identified and banished so that others can learn lesson from them,” he said.
The traditional leader said escalation of political violence, especially whenever the country was heading for general election has become a cancer that has potential to drive the country into civil strife and therefore the need to take drastic measures to stop the vice from happening.
He said political violence in whatever form should not be entertained in the chiefdoms because allowing it to flourish will be to allowing lawlessness in the country.
Chief Sinazongwe said Zambia was a democratic country where every citizen has the right to belong to a political grouping of his or her choice without being intimidated.
“Violent individuals should not be tolerated in our villages because no one has the right to harm a fellow citizen in the name of politics,” he said adding that he has since directed his headmen to ensure that all political violence incidents in the Chiefdom should be reported to him and the police.
Chief Sinazongwe also urged political parties taking part in the August 12, General Election to disown their cadres that are in the habit of causing violence, saying this is the only way hooliganism in the country’s political space can be ended.