Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s former president, has urged political parties taking part in Zambia’s general elections to refrain from violence and accept the eventual outcome of the polls.
The general election is scheduled to take place on Thursday.
According to a statement issued byIkechukwu Eze, his media adviser, Jonathan made the plea on Sunday at a press conference in Lusaka.
Jonathan, who is the head of the African Union Election Observation Mission to Zambia, appealed to Zambia’s political party leaders to place the country’s interest over political ambitions, warning them that it “makes no sense” for them to be involved in bloodshed.
He advised those that may lose the elections to be magnanimous, and to accept the results as the will of the people of Zambia.
“Politicians going in for elective positions should be open-minded about the outcome because they can either win or lose,” he said.
“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.”
Jonathan observed that Zambia has had a relatively smooth power transition since gaining Independence from Britain in 1964.
He added 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, ” he said.
Organisations such as the European Union, African Union and other regional bodies have also deployed contingents to monitor the election.
Electoral violence heightened during the campaigns. About 6.6 million Zambians are expected to cast thier vote.