By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has urged politicians contesting various positions in the forth-coming August 11 general elections in Zambia to accept results of the polls and avoid violence.
He spoke, yesterday, at a press conference in Lusaka, Zambian capital, as Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission to Zambia.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, Dr. Jonathan appealed to political party leaders to endeavour to place the country’s interest over political ambitions.
He was quoted as saying, “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,” he said.
Organisations such as the European Union, African Union and regional bodies have also deployed their contingents to monitor the election.
Contest in Zambia is said to be mainly between the ruling Patriotic Front, with Mr. Edgar Lungu and the United Party for National Development, which has Hakainde Hichilema, as it candidate. About 6.6 million Zambians would expected to vote in the elections.