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Observer mission: Jonathan urges Zambian parties to accept results, refrain from violence

By The Citizen
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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged political parties taking

part in the August 11 general elections in Zambia to refrain from

violence and accept the outcome of the polls.
The former President who stated this yesterday at his press conference

in Lusaka as Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission to

Zambia also appealed to political party leaders to endeavour to place

the country's interest over political ambitions.
Advising those that might lose the elections to be magnanimous and

accept the results as the will of the people of Zambia, Jonathan

further said:
'Politicians going in for elective positions should be open-minded

about the outcome because they can either win or lose. Politicians who

want to play meaningful roles in governance should realise that it is

not about them. Those who care only about themselves should quit

politics and begin to manage personal businesses.
'Our states are not private enterprises. You cannot be interested in

governance without sufficient interest in the affairs of the people.

So the interest of the country should come first as politicians tick

their priority boxes.
'This also requires politicians to accept the outcome of genuine

elections because of the interest of the people. You cannot instigate

violence and mayhem on the one hand and pretend that you are fighting

for the people on the other. It does not make any sense to get

involved in bloodshed, destroy properties, frustrate businesses and

collapse the economy in order to win elections. Our advice is to put

public interest above other expectations by accepting the results of

elections.
The former President also noted that Zambia has had relatively smooth

power transitions since gaining Independence from Britain in 1964,

adding that the pre-election environment was conducive for a free and

fair election.
'I believe that Zambia has served as the leading light and shown good

examples over the issue of elections. I am convinced that the people

of this country will maintain this exemplary peace during next

Thursday's general elections.'
Organisations such as the European Union, African Union and regional

bodies have also deployed their contingents to monitor the election.

Although there are many parties that registered candidates for the

polls, Zambia’s 2016 election is widely seen as a two horse-race.

Governing party Patriotic Front candidate Edgar Lungu who won last

year’s election was campaigning on a promise of stability and

continuity.
His main challenger of the United Party for National Development,

Hakainde Hichilema promises to fix a “broken” economy.

Electoral violence heightened during campaigns in which about 6.6

million Zambians were expected to cast the vote.