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HOW will the electorate make an informed decision when the various stakeholders spend  most of their time fighting amongst themselves.

What time would the combatants have to deliver their messages or market their party manifestoes to the undecided voters?

Former Vice President Enock Kavindele says violent election campaigns deny electorates an opportunity to listen and scrutinise political messages from various political parties that would influence their vote.

He says bloodshed should be avoided at all cost by political players campaigning for the August 12 elections.

Mr Kavindele is one of the most respected veteran politicians in the country and has always demonstrated maturity in the manner he addresses national issues.

This is the more reason why politicians and their supporters canvassing for votes must pause, listen and take note of his wise counsel.

He said in an interview that to avoid bloodshed, political parties should avoid provocation of any kind and focus on issue-based campaigns.

As Mr Kavindele said, political violence should be avoided because it causes permanent scars which result in civil strife being the order of the day.

Any political party that deviates from peaceful campaigns must be told off in no uncertain terms that it is a danger to the nation’s peace.

Zambians have resolved to have peaceful elections come August 12 and just want the various contestants to deliver their messages and wait for the verdict – through the ballot.

That is the democracy that Zambians have chosen for themselves, where the vote will count and settle all political arguments as to who has the mandate to run the affairs of the country.

Mr Kavindele wondered how electorates could make an informed decision before voting if all they witness was violence.

“Provocation in whatever form causes disagreements which result in violence, Zambians especially youths should realise that we’ve got only one country which must be maintained peacefully,” he said.

We therefore call on all political parties to stress to their foot soldiers that violent campaigns are very unZambian.

This year’s elections have also seen an unprecedented high number of independent candidates who have gone solo after not being adopted by the mainstream parties.

Obviously this could be uncomfortable for most cadres who might resent the “rebels.”

But for us, this is also a mark of the country’s democracy and it is up to the political leaders to call for restraint.

The weekend incident for example in Chongwe where rival UPND cadres clashed, resulting in two sustaining injuries is uncalled for.

What is even more disturbing is that the arsenal used included machetes and iron bars.

How the different parties circumnavigate this divisive period will demonstrate their maturity and ability to bring unity in the nation.

Maybe they should take a leaf from what Jean Kapata, a PF central committee member has advised her members, that infighting should stop and all must work towards convincing Zambians to vote for President Edgar Lungu and other ruling party candidates.

In UPND’s case, their attention should be on winning votes for Mr Hichilema, that is what he needs, and not how many people they maim.

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