Church group condemns political violence

THE continued violence amongst political opponents is a clear indication that the pledge to end the vice made by all political parties at the recently held political party Indaba convened by the three church mother bodies is not being honoured, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has charged.

CCZ president Bishop Alfred Kalembo said the Council of Churches has observed that the political environment has become increasingly volatile and has diverted Government’s attention from focusing on issues of improving people’s lives.

In a statement availed to the Daily Nation, Bishop Kalembo stated that it had been noted that many political opponents were still using hate speech and intimidation, while party cadres dressed in military regalia and armed with weapons such as machetes, pangas and iron bars often attacked each other across the different political parties, destroying property and threatening violence in marked territories.

“CCZ has noted with dismay at the political party campaigns which have taken the form of processions of branded motor vehicles carrying supporters who do not observe traffic rules, causing danger to other road users who are forced out of the roads or threatened with violence if they defy orders from the political party supporters,” Bishop Kalembo said.

He appealed to all Zambians to refrain from engaging in violence because of their political differences and that the Zambia Police Service should take its rightful position as a law enforcer to maintain peace and protect citizens who were endangered by the prevailing political violence.

“CCZ is calling on all political party leaders who were present at the political party Indaba held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to honour their promise which was an endeavour to advocate for a violent-free political environment ahead of the elections as a way of expressing political tolerance for the development of the country,” he said.