United States of America Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella has urged candidates contesting this year’s general elections to focus on issue based campaigns as opposed to character assassination against their opponents.
Ambassador Storella said the electorate should ensure that political candidates tell the people what they are going to do to improve their livelihoods if voted into office.
He said candidates should be gauged on account of their vision for the people in terms of delivering key services such as infrastructure, health and employment, among others.
Ambassador Storella said in this case, the media has a critical role to play in ensuring that the electorate are guided on who to vote into office, based on the candidates’ future vision for the country.
“I would like to urge all candidates and the media to focus on issues such as jobs, infrastructure, health; generally the future vision for the country,” he said.
Ambassador Storella said the US Government is supporting Zambia’s electoral process, and had so far spent approximately US $4.5 million on the national and voter registration exercises.
When asked on the public’s purported loss of confidence in the Electoral Commission of Zambia, ECZ, Ambassador Storella said it was not true that the commission had failed to deliver.
“Actually, what we are seeing is the ECZ securing modern and more transparent registration of voters. What we should be waiting to see is whether all the registered voters will exercise their right (to vote) in the upcoming big election,” he said.
On the subject of Zambia’s fight against corruption, Ambassador Storella said the country could do more in fighting the scourge.
He said political will was critical in the fight against corruption.
“What we should realise is that corruption exists in all societies, it’s not just in Zambia. What matters is the commitment of the government to fight corruption. We have seen some positive efforts, such as audit reports highlighting corruption cases. It is important for the government to keep pushing forward on corruption. Zambia is doing pretty well but you can do even better,” he said.