PEACE PLEDGE FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR THE 11 AUGUST 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUM

PEACE PLEDGE FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR THE 11 AUGUST 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUM

The Electoral Commission of Zambia invited Zambian political parties participating in the August 11th 2016 General Elections to Mulungushi International Conference Centre to sign a Peace Pledge on 15th July 2016.

The Peace Pledge was an initiative presented to political party presidents in the presence of Zambian election stakeholders and witnessed by Professor Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria, Special Adviser to the Commonwealth Secretary General for Zambian Elections and Ms. Janet Rogan, The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Zambia.

A video of the event can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20NW_HzGrcg&list=PLYRL5UATyrHSQfl76RO5uvzwp1q1dnCJ1&index=27

The contents of the peace pledge are as follows;

PEACE PLEDGE FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR THE 11 AUGUST 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS AND REFERENDUM

  1. We, the candidates vying for election into the Office of President of the Republic of Zambia in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election:

 a)   Aware that the primary responsibility of the Office of President is to uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia;

 b) Mindful that we are involved in a political competition intended to serve the people of Zambia whose collective interest must come first;

c) Noting the importance of our role to promote an environment which fosters public safety and security which are fundamental  to the people of Zambia enjoying their  Democratic Rights;

d) Recognising that the people of Zambia are peace-loving and that the observed levels of political violence are deplorable and detrimental to the people of Zambia, the society and the economy;

e) Fully aware that we are taking part in a democratic competition with established rules and regulations as articulated in the electoral laws of Zambia and the code of conduct;

f) Recognising that we must work towards preserving and actively encouraging efforts towards fostering Zambia’s unity, oneness of purpose, peace and stability;

g) Aware that we need to demonstrate leadership and responsibility in our actions, by commission or omission and in speech;

h) Recognising that posterity will judge us on our role in the country’s political stage and how positively or negatively we contributed to building our dear nation;

i) Believing that our actions and speech have a direct influence on our members and, followers and sympathisers;

j) Recognising that we have a major responsibility in helping the Electoral Commission of Zambia deliver peaceful elections with a credible outcome;

k) Regretting the loss of life and property observed so far in the campaign and reckoning that there is  need to prevent violence and further loss of life at all cost throughout the rest of the campaign period, on voting day and beyond the elections;

l) Fully aware that the eyes of the Southern Africa sub-region, Africa and the international community are on Zambia;

2. Meet today to pledge and commit unequivocally to peaceful elections by:

a) Actively working to create a climate conducive for the holding of the general elections and referendum scheduled for 11 August 2016;

b) Calling on all the Zambian people and our party supporters to refrain ‎from violence or any acts that may in any way jeopardise or undermine our collective vision of free, and credible elections;

c) Taking all proactive measures to prevent further electoral violence before, during and after the elections, respecting campaign schedules and preaching peace on campaign trails;

d) Reaffirming our respect and commitment to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia and our determination to promote the unity and oneness of the Zambian people;

e) Running issue-based campaigns devoid of personal attacks and incitement to violence;

f) Refraining from making public statements, pronouncements, declarations or hate speeches that have the capacity to incite any form of violence before, during and after the election;

g) Unreservedly and publicly condemning acts of electoral violence and dissociate with supporters who are found to be involved in provocation and any acts of provocation, incitement of violence and/or violence;

h) Avoiding any conduct or behaviour that will endanger the political stability and national security of Zambia.

i) Ensuring that polling and party agents are not only trained to be vigilant on Election Day but that they are trained on the best way to respond to provocation from their political opponents;

j) Committing to fully abide by all rules and regulations as laid down in the electoral legal framework in Zambia, and respecting‎ the outcome of a free, and credible election; and that grievances be discussed peacefully or channelled through  dispute resolution  mechanism and legal channels;

k) Ensuring that all our speeches and statements do not undermine the electoral process;

l) Committing to the spirit of fraternity, exemplary leadership, honest and constructive dialogue, to help address issues of common interest ;

m) Committing to put the interest of Zambia over and above any personal and partisan political considerations.

The Peace pledge was initiated after the end of a ban on campaigns in Lusaka Province and Namwala District on 9th July 2016. The ECZ ban on campaigns was meant to curb political violence which had taken place in these areas. The ban on campaigns was in exercise of ECZs powers under Section 28(2) of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016.

The full speech presented by Hon. Justice Esau E. Chulu Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia can be found here: http://ecz-news.com/news/speech-on-the-peace-accord/

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