THE Council of Churches in Zambia says the nation is playing with fire owing to the increasing hostile political campaigns ahead of the August 12 general
Speaking at a Youth Against Political Violence meeting held in Choma on Wednesday, CCZ vice president Charles Nseemani observed that the country was slowly losing the sense of unity due to politics.
“We are playing with fire owing to our political campaign which is increasingly becoming hostile and if we lose peace we will all be affected,” he warned. “We should say no tribalism, regionalism, violence and say yes to peace.”
Bishop Nseemani observed that there was diminishing respect for human life as seen on televisions and pictures of people on social media fighting or being beaten.
He urged Zambians to self-introspect adding that it pleases God when people treat each other as brothers and sisters.
“Nothing should divide us not even politics. Let politics bring people together for the benefit of everyone. Let’s embrace unity that our forefathers fought for,” Bishop Nseemani urged. “If Zambia is a Christian nation then we must live by Christian principles. We urge law enforcers to abide by the principles of Christianity and if our efforts are to yield results we implore youths and the old to be peacemakers – then violence, insults and beatings won’t be there.”
He said politicians are members of different congregations hence they must abide by the doctrines of those churches.
“We don’t need police permit to make peace and love one another. Each individual has the ability to bring about peace but this quality should be embedded within us,” Bishop Nseemani said.
“We have been created in the image of God implying that we should live in harmony with each other in tranquility.”
Bishop Nseemani pointed out that the principle of Ubuntu must always come into play for peace and love to prevail.
“We are not aliens as Zambians. We depend on each other. We don’t want to disturb this unity. Youths must refuse to be for hire for violence,” he said. “As leaders we won’t sit idle and watch our peace being threatened, no! Let the people choose leaders with a free mind, not induced but convinced that the manifesto they heard will help move the country forward. Politics must be a battle about ideologies and not hate speech. People must be convinced that when they elect such and such individuals, things will go well.”
He said there was need to build a good legacy for the future generations.
“Let’s be ambassadors of peace by talking about it in churches and not to denounce one another on political platforms. Therefore, I implore churches, youths and government wings to preach peace,” said Bishop Nseemani.
Youth Development Organisation executive director Partner Siabutuba said the nation can’t afford to lose peace just because of elections.
“Leaders must not just condemn violence but live in peace with their opponents hence we must first begin to regulate peace within ourselves as individuals,” said Siabutuba.
And CCZ national youth coordinator Michelle Mutumwenu challenged youths to take interest in the electoral process of country.
“Youths must offer themselves for political adoptions not just for songs, T/shirts and must also defend transparency, fair and credible elections,” she said. “Refrain from character assassination kind of campaigns.”
Mutumwenu urged the government to create a conducive environment for young people to work for themselves other than being used to cause violence.
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung programmes manager for social compact and social justice in Southern Africa, Vince Chipatuka said there can be no social justice without peace hence the need for people to work together as One Zambia One Nation.
“We need to ensure that we engage in issue based campaigns and refrain from violence for peace building amongst ourselves because development is connected to peace,” said Chipatuka.