Violence worrying donors – Kalaba

FOREIGN Affairs minister Harry Kalaba has warned perpetrators of violence that foreign donor agencies were concerned and closely observing the spate of violence across the country.

Speaking during an interview on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television,  Mr Kalaba disclosed that Zambia was known to the outside world as a peaceful country and that donor countries were now concerned at the increased reports of violence across the country.

He explained that peace among political parties as they campaigned ahead of the elections was more essential than getting into State House.

Mr Kalaba warned that donor countries could withhold their funding if the reports of violence across the country continued.

He said that President Lungu was concerned about the violence being perpetrated ahead of the elections because Zambia was not defined by violence.

“Donor countries are concerned about the continued reports of violence in the country. This might cost us.

We are known by the rest of the world as a peaceful country, so we must know that peace is essential than getting into State House.

‘‘President Lungu has been vocal about ending violence, people don’t just listen.

He is concerned because Zambia is not defined by violence,” said Mr Kalaba.

Mr Kalaba said that President Lungu was committed to ensuring that there was peace in the country, and that he put aside all his presidential duties just to go and sign the peace accord which was organised by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

He said that people should learn to be tolerant towards each other and also learn to coexist if they were to curb violence, and that campaigners should concentrate on selling their ideologies rather than calling each other names.

And Mr Kalaba said that he was happy that ECZ had invited electoral observers to next week’s elections because it was a sign that his Government was determined to hold free and fair elections.

He assured the nation and political players that the elections would be open, fair and transparent, and that not political party should feel cheated.

Mr Kalaba disclosed that he noticed some electoral observers from the European Union (EU) in the audience as he was carrying out his campaigns in Mansa.

“It’s a good thing that ECZ has invited electoral observers from different countries and organisations to monitor next week’s elections.

It’s a sign that we are committed to hold a free and fair election; so no political party should feel cheated,’’ he said.