Saturday, April 23, 2011

No politician is worth dying for - ZEC

No politician is worth dying for - ZEC
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

NO political leader here on earth is worth dying for, says the Zambia Episcopal Conference.

In an Easter message, ZEC spokesperson Fr Paul Samasumo said there were many Christian politicians in the country and asked them to lead the way in encouraging tolerance among the people.

Fr Samasumo said the politicians must resist any attempts to stoke the fears of the people by dangerously exploiting tribal or regional sentiments.

“As experience has shown elsewhere in Africa, when violence erupts everyone is a loser. Violence destroys lives, cities, villages and retards development. We must begin now to work hard and prepare for peace. If we do, peace will surely prevail even after our elections. If we prepare for violence, it too can surely come,” he said.

And Fr Samasumo said the message of Easter also gave hope to people's lives.

“For example, the universal fear of death is conquered by Christ. This is because one of the most important implications of the resurrection of Christ is that if we are in relationship to Christ, we no longer have to be afraid of death. When we die, we will be raised in the same way Jesus was. We will be united with our relatives and our friends. Life has meaning,” he said.

Ft Samasumo said the Easter story was the story of Christ. He said the word of peace must bless the lips of everyone in Zambia this Easter in order to create conditions for peace for everybody.

“We must not sow seeds of suspicion in what we say and do. We must speak and act in a manner that builds confidence in our nation. We have had elections before and come out as a united people. This should be our goal this time around as well,” he said.

Fr Samasumo said free, fair and transparent elections were a process and this process should start now. He said there must be sufficient time given from the time the election date is announced for everyone to prepare themselves for this big day.

“Similarly, the playing field for all contesting parties must be fair and level. As priests and pastors, we need to embrace all our people and all our Christians regardless of what political party they belong to. We should tell our flock that no political leader here on earth is worth dying for. Christ has died for all of us once and that is enough,” said Fr Samasumo.

He also urged the MMD government and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to quickly embrace parallel vote tabulation (PVT) and cast aside any resistance they might have.

Fr Samasumo said the reason for this was because resistance of PVT was sowing a bad seed of suspicion among the people. He said Zambia was not an island and other countries had used the system successfully.

“Why would it fail in Zambia if everyone follows the rules of PVT? In fact, it is the ruling party that needs PVT the most. Would it not be reassuring to hear from independent tallies that indeed the ruling party did win freely and fairly?” asked Fr Samasumo.

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