THOSE responsible for maintaining law and order must do everything possible to remove the perception that the Public Order Act (POA) is applied selectively in order to curb instances of political violence.
Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Borniface Chembe said for police to deal firmly with political violence they must first demonstrate impartiality in their application of the law.
“We hope that the perceived strategy of the selective application of the Public Order Act will also not be encouraged as it erodes the principle of an equal playing ground,” he said.
Mr Cheembe urged the police to act aggressively in dealing with perpetrators of violence now to avoid recurrence in the 2016 tripartite elections.
He said the police should not tolerate any spate of violence and deal firmly with those found wanting, saying political parties should also work with various stakeholders to address the issue.
He advised political parties not to use violence as a strategy to win elections next year but should engage in politics of ideology to win people’s hearts.
He said the spate of violence perpetrated by political cadres was a drawback, especially that the country was headed for general elections next year.
“As the nation remains with only a few months before the 2016 tripartite elections, we would like to make an appeal to all political parties to use the right formula to win elections, and they should not use violence as a strategy,” he said.
Mr Chembe said he hoped that some strategies by some politicians would not involve the use of political violence which was retrogressive and did not create the environment for free and fair elections.
“May all political players engage relevant stakeholders on various issues now to avoid unnecessary speculations that are bound to disturb the electorate,” he said.
Mr Cheembe said political parties should engage in ‘‘politics of thoughts’’ that would seek to bring out solutions to the many challenges the people of Zambia were facing in order to foster peace and unity.