By Nation Reporter
LEADERS of political parties must cultivate a culture of respecting each other and avoid causing unnecessary political tension because should the country erupt into violence Zambians will have nowhere to run, former president Rupiah Banda has advised.
Mr Banda said there had been heightened political tension in the country as the general elections were drawing closer and that leaders of political parties should not exacerbate the situation by failing to preach peace and unity among their supporters.
Mr Banda said there was need for leaders of political parties to call for a truce and end the violence before the general elections in August this year.
The former president said he was deeply concerned by the wave of violent clashes between the ruling party and the opposition and warned that unless such vices were curbed, there was a danger that Zambia could erupt into unmanageable chaos.
He said the lack of respect and violent language, coupled with insults among leaders of political parties, was fuelling tension in the country.
The former president said political tension in the country was too high and that there was need for political leaders to stop insulting each other and instead concentrate on messages of peace and unity.
He said in an interview yesterday that the violent clashes between the PF and the UPND that occurred in Matero on Sunday were regrettable and appealed to the Zambia Police to devise better means of policing political meetings in the country.
Mr Banda said violence was being perpetrated by both the opposition and ruling party and that this was caused by the insulting and demeaning language some politicians were using in criticising their political opponents.
“We have never gone through serious political problems before and we may be taking the peace we are enjoying for granted. We really play with our peace and the violent acts we are seeing are being perpetrated by both sides, the ruling party and the opposition. This is being caused by the failure by political leaders to respect each other.
‘‘Whoever cares to hear or listen to my advice, let us call for a truce and end the political violence before the August general elections. If this country erupts, Zambians will have nowhere to run to because all they know is a peaceful Zambia,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said it was not politically healthy for opposition political party leaders to insult and demean President Edgar Lungu.