SACCORD says political parties are intolerant

International Peace Day Statement – 21st September 2010

As the world commemorates the international Peace day which falls on
September 21, the Southern African Centre for the Constructive
Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) notes with concern that political
parties in Zambia have failed to devise effective conflict resolution
mechanisms within their structures thereby leaving peace in the
country on a very shaky ground.

This day provides all people of the world an opportunity to reflect on
what they have done both as individuals and through their associations
to help make the world more peaceful and allow each citizen of the
world to aspire and be able to reach their full potential. SACCORD is
further concerned that the African continent continues to be in a
serious state of instability and making it very difficult for its
people to be more confident of the future.

In Zambia today, intolerance among politicians has remained the major
risk to the country’s peace as they have failed to embrace diversity
which comes with multiparty politics. The current Zambian politicians
are very intolerant to divergent views and it has resulted in
conflicts within political parties and inter-party conflicts. We urge
our politicians to ensure that they become more tolerant to people
with divergent views.

Over the past year, the country experienced devastating conflicts such
as in Mufumbwe and today, there is still no clear solution to the
Lunda Luvale conflict in Zambezi. The conflict in Zambezi needs urgent
attention and we urge the government to constitute a body which will
look at a long lasting solution to the situation. There is need for
the promotion of co-existence among all Zambian communities and tribes
as we believe that it is the only way which will help this country
develop.

As the world moves into the coming year, stakeholders such as law
enforcement agencies must work to ensure that citizens are protected
from overzealous party cadres who want to violate the rights of other
citizens with impunity. We also urge the government to ensure that
Zambians have food security and provide good health care for all
citizens.

We further repeat our calls to political parties to ensure that they
are more tolerant to those who have divergent views and come up with
effective and non violent ways of resolving disputes. Political party
supporters especially the youth wings must realize that their role was
not beating or intimidating political opponents rather it was to
ensure mobilizing support for their parties. The energy in the youths
is not for fighting others but for ensuring that they go beyond where
the other party members can not in terms of mobilizing support for the
parties.

We urge all Zambians to remember that peace is difficult to keep once
it is lost but we need to keep nurturing and building it for it to be
sustainable. We want to salute the Zambian people for continuing to be
peaceful despite occasional assault on their human rights.

Lee Habasonda
Executive Director
SACCORD

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