PM commends Zambians for peaceful electoral process

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    Tsvangirai said Zambia already demonstrated capacity to hold peaceful elections, going by the manner in which previous polls have been co
    nducted.

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    He said in an interview in Lusaka that Zambia is among the few countries in Africa which have shown that they can emerge from elections united.

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    “I have no doubt that you are going to have peaceful elections. I also know that the elections will also be free and fair,” Mr Tsvangirai said.

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    “Your country has mature leaders who accept defeat when they have lost and do not hang on to power even when the results show otherwise,” Mr Tsvangirai said.

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    He noted that the maturity exhibited by leaders also encourages the electorate to accept the election results.

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    “It is only when leaders behave in this manner that you can be assured of peace. Leaders play a role in determining what will happen after the elections,” Mr Tsvangirai said.

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    He said Zambia has remained united after elections because the political leaders do not resort to violence.

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    Mr Tsvangirai said Zambia should be commended for the good spirit and hoped this year’s tripartite elections will not be any different.

    And Mr Tsvangirai commended President Banda for according Dr Chiluba a state funeral, as this is the most dignified manner of interring a former head of state.

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    He said the peace enjoyed in Zambia is reflected in the manner in which people of different backgrounds and political affiliation came together to mourn a former leader.

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    Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attended the burial of former Zambia President Fredrick Chiluba in Zambia joining several other international and regional dignitaries who were in Lusaka to pay their last respects to a man credited for ending one party politics in that country.

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    Tsvangirai was among several hundred mourners who attended the burial in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

    Tsvangirai and Chiluba shared a lot in common. They both went through a very difficult period in building up their political careers in circumstances that can best be described as difficult.

    Chiluba broke Kaunda’s strange-hold on Zambian politics having risen through the ranks of the Zambian trade union movement to form the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) in 1990 to oppose Kaunda’s increasingly authoritarian rule.

    The same can be said of Tsvangirai who gave President Robert Mugabe, (who in 1987 attempted to declare Zimbabwe a one party state), his first formidable challenge and in the process handing him his first defeat in March 2008.

    Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said the two helped change the face of politics in the region by challenging the status-quo defined by political leadership of liberation war movements.

    “Prime Minister Tsvangirai and the late former Zambian President had a lot in common. They were both trade unionists and proponents of multi-party democracy.

    Chiluba was a Godfearing person just like Prime Minister Tsvangirai,” said Tamborinyoka adding that the funeral was a moving occasion attended by all political players in Zambia.

    Unlike in Zimbabwe, Tamborinyoka said, President Rupiah Banda gave all political parties an opportunity to give the late former President a befitting send off.

    “The MMD did not try and privatise Chiluba as is the case in Zimbabwe and elsewhere,” he said.

    Vice President Joyce Mujuru also attended the burial. Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa delivered a speech on behalf of Sadc leaders.