Thursday, July 07, 2011

Government’s selfishness is hindering fair polls - Mulongoti

Government’s selfishness is hindering fair polls - Mulongoti
By Ernest Chanda
Thu 07 July 2011, 04:02 CAT

MIKE Mulongoti says it is difficult to have free and fair elections because of selfishness among the people running government. Commenting on Chipata Catholic diocese Bishop George Lungu's observation that elections should not just be said to be free and fair but must actually be seen to be so, the former works and supply minister said there was need to push for a level playing field.

Mulongoti said it was such selfishness, which always brought contention during and after elections.

“When you see those in power bambazonke (holding on to everything) the press and anything else, then that is the beginning of contention. In the current circumstance there is no room for free and fair elections because those in control of the treasury are selfish. And this situation will always create room for contention,” said Mulongoti.

'But if we had a situation where the controllers of the treasury channel resources to building the foundation for democracy there will be no contention.

And democracy is about people accepting the election process and the outcome. But in the current scenario it can't happen, we shall always have tension and contention in the nation.”

During a Catholic Church organised 'walk for peace' on Saturday, Bishop Lungu, the former ZEC president who was represented by Caritas Chipata director Fr Vincent Daka, said in an election peace could only be sustained when elections were free and fair.

“And as such, elections should not just be said to be free and fair but are actually seen to be free and fair. This means creating a level-playing ground for all stakeholders and the entire process is as transparent as possible,” he said.

“Therefore, all of us are called to contribute to the elections being free and fair in order to maintain peace.”

Bishop Lungu urged Zambians to preach peace before, during and after the elections.

“We stand here because we understand the value of peace. We gather here to pray for peace in our beloved country Zambia as we head for elections later this year. We cannot underestimate the importance of peace for any country,” said Bishop Lungu.

“We have only one Zambia, we have only one nation. Peace has also to be seen to be at work through forgiveness and reconciliation. We gather here today not because we belong to a particular religious background, or political affiliation or we are members of this tribe or that tribe, but Zambians.”

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