ZAMBIA NATIONAL WOMEN’S LOBBY CONDEMNS VIOLENCE BY PATRIOTIC FRONT CADRES
The Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) would like to condemn the violence exhibited by Patriotic Front cadres to the opposition in many parts of the country during this campaign period. The ZNWL is particularly saddened by attacks on former First Lady Dr Maureen Mwanawasa and former Deputy Speaker of the National assembly Mutale Nalumango, who is also UPND National Chairperson, during their campaign trail in Shiwan’gandu.
We were appalled to witness such a vicious attack on two unarmed women who were merely exercising their democratic right of belonging to a political party of their choice. What makes the whole scenario sad is that these two women are supposed to be held in high esteem in our nation as they once held high positions in Zambia.
They do not deserve the embarrassment and loss of dignity they were put through, especially that they were merely exercising their democratic right. If women of such high status cannot be respected, what about the ordinary women out there? Many women will be discouraged to come out and participate in politics. We would like to urge Dr Mwanawasa and Mrs Nalumango not to relent, but to forge ahead in participating in politics and pursuing their democratic rights.
It is unfortunate that despite Zambia having past the 50 year mark; we still continue to witness incidences of violence during elections which have resulted in voter apathy as many voters shun violent elections.
It cannot be overemphasised that electoral violence is a cancer that must be eliminated as it robs elections of their very essence and further discourages stakeholders especially women from fully participating in the electoral process.
We therefore implore the police command to perform their duties diligently and without favour by censuring unruly cadres who may wish to disturb the peace and stability that the country has enjoyed in the past 50 years.
We urge political leaders to strongly condemn violence and ensure that their members adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct.
ZNWL further encourages Zambians to turn up in numbers on the 20th of January to vote for a candidate of their choice.
BEAUTY KATEBE (MS)
ZAMBIA NATIONAL WOMEN’S LOBBY BOARD CHAIRPERSON