Thursday, February 07, 2013

YALI condemns politics of violence

YALI condemns politics of violence
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Wed 06 Feb. 2013, 15:40 CAT

ELECTIONS are merely a competition to serve in public office and not a matter of life and death, says the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

YALI executive board secretary Mundia Paul Hakoola said his organisation was disappointed by political players in the country that continue to exhibit politics of violence towards one another.

"Livingstone, Mpongwe, Kapiri-Mposhi and Lukulu West will be having by-elections and it is incumbent upon every political party that is participating to ensure that they refrain from any form of violence. YALI will continue to remind our politicians that elections are merely a competition to serve public office and not a matter of life and death and therefore our politicians should know that there is a country even after elections, Zambia is bigger than petty fights or insults, than all of us and it's the duty of those in government and aspiring to be in public office to protect the interests of the country and the youth. The binding factor, politicians should know, is that we are all Zambians despite having different political ideologies and political violence does not in any way help any social or economical aspect of our country," he said.

Hakoola said YALI had noticed with great sadness that politics were full of name calling and were not issue-based.

He said political campaigns were a platform for insulting each other instead of telling the electorate what the candidate was going to do for the people once elected and also selling their party manifestos.

"It's very sad that some politicians of today don't even know their party ideologies, the only thing they do is to insult their opponents and call them all sorts of names. This kind of politics does not inspire the young people of today and is in fact setting a very bad precedent to the young people of this country. Young people will think it is the normal way of governance when in fact it leaves too much to be desired," he said.

Hakoola said the police played a critical role in maintaining non-violent campaigns by ensuring that there was high level of professionalism among officers when dealing with members of every political party despite their political affiliation and not showing favours to members of the ruling party.
He said the police should be impartial and level the playing field among all political players and should ensure that the rule of law prevails whose basic principal is that of equality before the law.

Hakoola said political parties should be allowed to hold rallies regardless of political affiliation.

He said YALI was convinced that electoral violence and any other type of violence was retrogressive to the growth of Zambia's nascent democracy and hindered effective youth and women participation in democratic activities.
"YALI is also aware that youth are abused to perpetrate violence and are themselves victims of violent campaigns in the electoral process. YALI is therefore urging all political parties to promote non-violent campaigns, tolerance of political beliefs, divergent views and defending political rights of individuals within our own political parties and in our multi-party system of politics," he said.

He called on all political parties to renounce violence against any political opponent within and outside political parties.

"YALI will not hesitate to denounce any political party or individual that will perpetuate, influence, sponsor or aid violence to take place in our country and will not hesitate to tell young people not to vote for violent leaders or those aiding violence," he said. "The culture by politicians of using young people for violence should stop because they are instilling bad seeds in the youths ... The only time they see youths useful is the time for political campaigns or when they are advancing their selfish interests. Young people should stand ready to defend our democratic ideologies and violence is not part of these ideologies."

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