By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
THE Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to use his power as commander-in-chief of the armed forces to end political violence in the country.
NGOCC chairperson Sara Longwe said as Zambia celebrates its Heroes and Unity Days, the citizens should reflect on the importance of embracing peace.
Ms Longwe said Heroes and Unity Days should be used to celebrate the great women and men who sacrificed their lives for the well-being of the country.
“Our forefathers fought for the peace that we are enjoying today. In the spirit of unity, we, therefore, urge all Zambians to embrace the true spirit of the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ slogan,” Ms Longwe said.
She said Zambia should remain united because the country was bigger and greater than the partisan or other interests that threatened the current peace.
She appealed to political parties to stop the culture of violence that had continued in the political arena.
“NGOCC would like to make a special appeal to the Head of State, President Edgar Lungu to use his power as the commander-in-chief to end political violence the country is experiencing, where people are being killed because of political affiliation,” Ms Longwe said.
She called on Zambians to use the holiday to reflect and pray for the continued peace of the country ahead of next month’s general elections.
Ms Longwe said the general elections should not be for personal benefits where the winner takes all, but a competition for service.
And United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema said Zambia would have been nowhere without the heroes.
Mr Hichilema said this in his message to celebrate the Heroes and Unity Days.
The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) called on Zambians to reflect on the sacrifices of the founders of democracy and the price paid for the freedoms that they were enjoying.
FODEP executive director Chimfwembe Mweenge said the Heroes and Unity Days served as a reminder to the current crop of political leaders to unite the nation through responsive and accountable leadership.
Mr Mweenge said Zambia’s forefathers demonstrated this when they fought against repression, injustice, poverty, inhuman living conditions and bad governance.
He, however, regretted that most of the elements fought for by the forefathers were still with the citizens as evidenced in campaigns which were devoid of debates on real issues and freedom of the Press which was not being guaranteed to all, as well as political violence.
Mr Mweenge said this had the potential to reverse the democratisation process that the heroes and heroines stood for.