United Nations Urges Zambians to Pursue Peaceful Elections
02 August 2021
Prayers called as part of efforts to promote peace ahead of elections on 12 August.
United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Dr Coumba Mar Gadio has called on political parties and their supporters in Zambia to co-exist and seek peaceful means of resolving political differences without resorting to violence.
Speaking on 1 August, during National Ecumenical Prayers for peaceful elections in the country organised by the Coalition for Peaceful Elections in Zambia and the Church Mother Bodies, Dr Gadio noted that the right of all citizens to choose leaders of their choice in an election is a right that must be upheld.
“Zambia has been a beacon of peace in the region and continent since independence. Peace in Zambia is a priceless commodity whose value should be jealously preserved. Therefore, violence, hate speech, regional polarisation and rhetoric that divide citizens have no place in a democracy,” she said.
Dr Gadio said that the UN believes in the values of transparency, inclusivity, peace, tolerance, and credibility and supports sustainable development, the rule of law and respect for human rights, Leaving No one Behind.
And Commonwealth Secretary General Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC expressed hope that the elections would offer another opportunity to showcase Zambia’s democratic maturity.
“Elections will come, and elections will go but the Zambian nation which the country’s forefathers fought for will stay,” said Hon. Scotland.
Other messages of solidarity came from the Vatican and the World Council of Churches through the Apostolic Nuncio to Zambia, Archbishop Gianfranco Gallone, and the World Council of Churches through its Programme Executive for Church Relations, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Simon respectively.
In his homily, Archbishop Ignatius Chama of Kasama Diocese and President of the Zambia Conference for Catholic Bishops, called for violent-free, fair, transparent, free, and credible elections on 12 August.
As Zambia heads for the polls, the country has experienced incidents of political violence including the killing, recently, of two political party supporters in Lusaka on 30 July.
The Coalition of Peaceful Elections in Zambia is a non-partisan national platform bringing together strategic organisations whose main goal is to prevent electoral violence that was witnessed in past elections in the country. The coalition is co-convened by the Church Mother Bodies and the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations.
Other members include Law Association of Zambia, NGOCC, Human Rights Commisssion, Media Institute for Southern Africa, Zambia Federation of Disability Organisations, Transparency International, National Youth Development Council and the Zambia Police.