From the time the Patriotic Front (PF) formed government in 2011, Zambia has witnessed the worst forms of electoral and political violence.
Lives have been lost while many other citizens have been maimed as the ruling party and its leaders watch.
While leaders of opposition political parties have been arrested and detained over suspicion of fomenting violence, sadly Zambians have not seen or heard a member of the ruling party being arrested for causing violence.
Most of the by-elections at local government and Parliamentary have been characterized by bloody violence resulting into death as was the case in Rufunsa, Livingstone and Katuba among others.
This is despite politics being a contest of ideas and not violence and insults.
However, it is now pleasing that for the first time in three years, political parties participating in the by-elections slated for September 11, 2014 have conducted violence-free camapigns.
Although there had been reports that a UPND candidate Alfonso Phiri was threatened with abduction and death in Vubwi constituency, the political parties have shown maturity by restraining themselves from getting physical with each other.
PF deputy secretary general Bridget Atanga has commended all the political parties for conducting peaceful and issue based campaigns.
This is how it should be and it is our hope that the political parties will continue being civil as they sell their manifestos for that is what would hold them accountable.
Zambia will be celebrating its 50th Golden Jubilee and Zambians would want to see leaders of all political parties preach unity while condemning violence which has over the years been part of the country’s political make-up
The ruling party, the Patriotic Front has been hesitant to condemn violence but quick to accuse the opposition political parties of perpetrating violence.
With Mrs Atanga stating that the ruling party abhors violence, it is our hope that from now on, political parties will heed the demands by electorate to avoid violence by all means.
This would entail that all political parties stop the culture of importing cadres to areas where by-elections would be held because what have learnt is that the people who cause violence are those hired from outside.
The violence that characterized the Rufunsa local government by-election left a Lusaka PF cadre Menyani Zulu dead and a number of UPND cadres arrested and detained. The courts recently acquitted all the accused and we ask who could have ended the life of the young man in such a savage manner if all were found not guilty.
We still have fresh memories that Harrison Chanda, a PF cadre imported from Monze to Livingstone was killed in violent clashes and we saw the police rounding up UPND leaders among them Hakainde Hichilema, Mazabuka Central lawmaker Garry Nkombo with his counterpart Request Muntanga of Kalomo.
Surely this country has seen enough political violence and if the spirit of peace, respect and harmony that has been seen in the current campaigns could continue, then our democracy would be said to be maturing.