Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged political parties taking part in the August 11 general election in Zambia to refrain from violence and accept the outcome of the polls.
The former president who stated this yesterday at his press conference in Lusaka as Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission to Zambia, also appealed to political party leaders to endeavour to place the country’s interest over their political ambitions.
Advising those that might lose the elections to be magnanimous and accept the results as the will of the people, Jonathan further said: “Politicians going in for elective positions should be open-minded about the outcome because they can either win or lose. Politicians who want to play meaningful roles in governance should realise that it is not about them. Those who care only about themselves should quit politics and begin to manage personal businesses.
“Our states are not private enterprises. You cannot be interested in governance without sufficient interest in the affairs of the people.
So the interest of the country should come first as politicians tick their priority boxes.
“This also requires politicians to accept the outcome of genuine elections because of the interest of the people. You cannot instigate violence and mayhem on the one hand and pretend that you are fighting for the people on the other. It does not make any sense to get involved in bloodshed, destroy properties, frustrate businesses and collapse the economy in order to win elections. Our advice is to put public interest above other expectations by accepting the results of elections.”
The former president also noted that Zambia has had relatively smooth power transitions since gaining Independence from Britain in 1964, adding that the pre-election environment was conducive for a free and fair election.
“I believe that Zambia has served as the leading light and shown good examples over the issue of elections. I am convinced that the people of this country will maintain this exemplary peace during next
Thursday’s general elections.”
Organisations such as the European Union, African Union and regional bodies have also deployed their contingents to monitor the election.
Although there are many parties that registered candidates for the polls, Zambia’s 2016 election is widely seen as a two horse-race.
Governing party, Patriotic Front’s candidate Edgar Lungu who won last year’s election was campaigning on a promise of stability and continuity. His main challenger of the United Party for National Development, Hakainde Hichilema promised to fix a “broken” economy.
Electoral violence heightened during campaigns in which millions of Zambians were expected to cast the vote.