Former president Koroma meets Zambian President Edgar Lungu ahead of tomorrow’s elections

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 August 2021:

Former President of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma, who is leading the African Union Elections Observation Mission to Zambia, on Monday held consultations with Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu, and other stakeholders, on a range of issues to promote peaceful, fair, transparent and credible elections tomorrow Thursday, 12th August.

Speaking about the work of the AU election observation mission, Ernest Bai Koroma told the Zambian leader (Photo below) that the “Mission is comprised of 34 observers who will be deployed in all ten regions of the country,” as he reiterated the AU’s solidarity with and commitment to supporting the people of Zambia in achieving peaceful and credible electoral outcomes.

Along with AU’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security – Bankole Adeoye, former President Koroma also held fruitful discussions with the Chairperson of the Zambian Electoral Commission, Justice Chulu and his Commissioners, as well as the Deputy Inspector General of Police.

Throughout these consultations, the AU Commissioner highlighted Zambia’s enviable history of peaceful political and democratic transitions since independence. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye also noted Zambia’s legacy of supporting other African countries during the fight against apartheid.

“Zambia has always been a beacon of hope and a shining example of peace and democratic progress on the continent and I therefore urge you to uphold this enviable record throughout this exercise,” he said.

Former President Koroma and his team will continue with his engagements with opposition parties, civil society, the media, international organizations and other stakeholders ahead of tomorrow’s polls.

In another development, former president Koroma and the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, yesterday held consultation meetings with various stakeholder of the Zambia 12th August elections, including the Chairperson and members of the Human Right Commission, Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga, and the leadership of the Zambian Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) which comprises the Council of Churches in Zambia, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, Jusuit Center for Theological Reflection and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The AU Mission has noted growing concerns from all sides about violence, particularly between the supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front of President Edgar Lungu, and the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), of Hakainda Hichilema.

Issues about the absence of a level playing field, police high handedness, unfair enforcement of the Public Order Act and Covid – 19 restrictions have also been raised.

The incumbent is particularly concerned about the opposition ‘playing the victim card’ and what he described as “the refusal of a certain political party not only to accept elections results but also to acknowledge the legitimacy of his presidency.

What has come out clearly is that there is a high level of mistrust between the main contenders.  Mr. Hakainda Hichilema is contesting for the 6th time, losing in the last two by less than two percentage points. Reports say, the UDNP leader has indicated that this might be his final attempt at becoming president of Zambia – a statement which appears to have inspired doggedness on the part of his supporters. On the other hand, incumbent President Lungu is running for a second full term, and like his opponent, he’s determined for victory.

In an election which is being so fiercely contested, the stakes for peace and stability could not be higher.

“The AU remains determined to walk this difficult path with the people of Zambia all the way to an outcome everyone should be proud of,” said former president Koroma.

He also stated that “the judiciary, the electoral commission and the security sector have a huge responsibility in maintaining the neutrality expected of them.”

“The peace and stability of Zambia is more important than the political aspiration of any  individual or group of individuals,” Koroma warned Zambians.

1 Comment

  1. This is clearly an attempt by Former President Bai Komroma, to to dose out the flames of fires, and the ever rising tensions, that exists between supporters of the incumbent President Lungu , and his main opposition rivals Mr Hachilema. The last presidential election in which Mr Hachilema lost by a tiny margin to Mr Lungu the current President, there were wide spread violence perpetuated by roaming gangs of youths of the ruling patriotic Front of the sitting president, helped by the police, and hired thugs, and directed at the opposition supporters of Mr Hachilema. Ring any bells. No one wants a repeat of such wanton violence and destruction of life and property. Especially President Bai Koroma, whoes tasked is to ensure a peacful conduct of this election on Sunday the 12th of August 2021.

    His mandate is making sure the elections are conduct in a fair, open and transparent ways, with no intimidation of voters, and a repat of the ugly scenes that marred the last presidential election.Under normal circumstances, it is indeed a gigantic task to ensure this election goes ahead without a hitch. But then again, Covid19 have thrown a spanner in the works, the lockdown, restrictions of peoples economic activity, China’s heavy behind the scenes movers and shakers of Zambians politics. Seen in many quarters as political chess players in Zambian politics , due to their massive investments in the country. Last Chinese business communities were accused, though not proven to favour the ruling party, all add up to add fuel to the mutual suspicion that exists amongst the Zambian political hierarchy and their foot soldiers or suppoters making any out come of this presidential election with out any violence from either side very difficult to avoid .

    The only hope now, President Koroma a saint from the political misgivings of the pressure cooker of Africa politics , and his cool and mild manner approach to convince this two political Gladiators of Zambian politics, losing or winning elections is not all about you as an individual, but your decision should be about what is the best way forward for the people’s of Zambia, or indeed the African continent.What you as a president brings to the table to help lift your people out poverty and neglect is what counts .Rather than holding on to power even if you have gone past your political sell by date. Alpha Conde, Allassanr Ouattra, Paul Biya,Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, Nugusso of the Republic of Congo, comes to mind. They are a dying breed, but whilst they are with us, continue cause more harm than good for their people.So our ex-president koroma who is younger than some of this African dinosaurs, have proven to his distractors he is not a power hungry animal. Otherwise for all the talk of Bio’s one direction government, Mr Koroma would have continued to stay in power regardless of the two terms limits set by our constitution.

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