Her Excellency Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, QC, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth
Her Excellency Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, QC, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth

COMMONWEALTH secretary general Patricia Scotland says political campaigns should not be a platform to trade insults.

Launching the Coalition for Peaceful Elections in Zambia on Thursday, Scotland said the country needs to uphold its record of peace held over decades.

She also noted that electoral violence was mainly meant to influence the electoral process.

“It is about focusing on our commonalities, on what moves us together on the Zambia you want to live in and to leave to your children. Electoral violence is usually distinct from other types. And its main objective is to influence electoral process,” she said. “Election campaigns should be an opportunity to engage in political debate over issues and perspectives, and not a platform for trading insults. For democracy to flourish, it is imperative that political parties and constitutions embrace transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law. Failure to respect the rule of law undermines the desire to pursue the legal route to seek redress.”

Scotland also emphasised on the need for trusted electoral bodies to manage elections.

“A key word inserted always in the electoral process is ‘trust’ and confidence in the impartiality and competence of the institutions such as the electoral managing body and institutions is absolute,” said Scotland. “An inclusive, consultative and of the electoral managing body is important at all stages of the electoral process. A consultative process brings stakeholders together and binds them throughout the electoral process. It is equally important that political leaders and candidates are encouraged to continue to public declare to abide by the will of the people.”

And Christian Churches Monitoring Group chairperson Reverend Emmanuel Chikoya said the Church would do its best to promote peace in the nation.

“As a church we have continued to believe that with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will one day succeed in changing the political landscape in Zambia. That is moving away from politically inspired violence to political harmony where all players are free to fully participate and promote the multiparty democratic nature of our country,” said Rev Chikoya. “The country is polarised according to regional and ethnic lines, and this is motivated mainly by politicians during elections. As a church we think that we should do more than just condemning violence. We should seek and identify the root causes of this violence and plan for lasting solutions, hence the importance of dialogue because there’s no other avenue that will help us deal with the root causes.”



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