Violence saddens SADC observer mission

The SADC Council of NGO’s has expressed sadness at the violence experienced ahead of tomorrow’s presidential election.
SADC Council of NGO’s president Lewis Mwape said in a statement that the SADC observer mission has noted incidences of violence and cited the Shiwang’andu incident where the UPND campaign team was attacked, the reported attack on a PF cadre in Livingstone, and the attacking and hacking of UPND cadres in Mongu and Lusaka as examples.
Mwape said the mission has also observed with sadness the increasing levels of hate speech by various leaders which does not promote national unity.
He said the tribal talk and branding of political competitors is retrogressive and a threat to national unity and security.
The observer mission has also noted that the promises being given by the aspiring candidates may create some expectation crisis if not fulfilled.
On media performance the observers have noted that the performance of both the private and public media has been below par in both content and treatment of stories.
They have further noted that both the private and public media have been biased in the coverage during the campaign period.
The media has also been accused of indirectly encouraging tribal accusations by giving prominence to baseless allegations of tribalism.
Attacks on the media by political cadres have also been condemned and political leaders have been challenged to guarantee media freedom.
The mission has also welcomed the use of opinion polls in pre-election assessment of polls and has appealed to all political leaders to ensure that Zambia’s legacy of peace continues.
The SADC observer mission will give a preliminary report on the elections on 23rd January to precede the full and final report to be released on 5th February 2015.

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