TIMES OF ZAMBIA — PRESIDENT Michael Sata has condemned partisan violence in Zambia, saying it is important for different political parties to exercise tolerance with each other.
Mr Sata said Zambians should appreciate and learn to show brotherly relations among each other as violence was not a means of addressing any misunderstanding.
He said this during the ceremonial State opening of the second session of the 11th National Assembly in Lusaka yesterday.
“I am saddened by violence that we continue to see during by-elections, let’s fight with words, when you fight it is your brother that you are fighting,” he said.
He said Zambians needed development and efforts to achieve this should not be vanquished because of acts of violence.
He said the country’s democracy would not flourish with acts of violence prevailing, hence the need for people to learn to co-exist and debate issues without engaging in violence.
The call comes in the wake of political differences between political party members who vent their grievances by engaging in violent conduct.
Also ahead of the condemnation of violence is the awaited Mufumbwe by-election on November 8, this year.
The last by-election in Mufumbwe saw increased political violence which should not be repeated following the President’s appeal.
President Sata appealed for restraint and tolerance whenever people from different political backgrounds encountered a disagreement, saying this was a strong foundation to continue building on the country’s democracy.
“Let me however register my disappointment with the violence that characterised some of the by-elections. I wish to emphasise the need to exercise self restraint and tolerance before, during and after elections,” he said.
President Sata said the House during the last session saw seven by-elections taking place in Chongwe, Nakonde, Magoye, Msanzala, Livingstone, Chama North and Muchinga Constituencies.
“In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the seven MPs who emerged winners in these by-elections,” he said.
He expressed delight that the first session of the 11th National Assembly was productive in many respects adding that this was a clear testimony of the country’s growing and maturing democracy.
He also commended the Speaker, Patrick Matibini for the impartial and manner in which he guided and presided over business of the House.
The House observed a moment of silence in honour of Muchinga MP and former Vice President in the MMD government, George Kunda and late Mama Betty Kaunda who died on Wednesday in Zimbabwe.
After the address Mr Sata took time to greet and chat with opposition MPs mainly from the United Party for National Development (UPND).