[By Chila Namaiko] TWO opposition political parties have praised efforts by the Church to pray for peace and unity in the country, and have promised to firmly deal with their members who engage in violence.
United Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president for politics Canisius Banda, who was among political leaders during the national day of prayers at the Lusaka showground main arena, reaffirmed his party's commitment to upholding peaceful elections.
Dr Banda said the UPND was grateful to the Church for bringing Zambians together at the prayer gathering regardless of political affiliations.
"We are happy that the Church is working hard to unite Zambians and, as a party, we are condemning political violence because we want peace and unity to prevail," Dr Banda said.
He said the party leadership was restraining its cadres from committing any acts of violence and promised to carry out peaceful campaigns ahead of the August 11 general elections.
United National Independence Party (UNIP) deputy secretary general Alfred Banda hailed President Edgar Lungu for being among the political leaders at the prayer gathering.
Reverend Banda said UNIP was dismayed with escalating violence being perpetuated by cadres from different political parties and called for an end to the vice.
He said it would not help any political party to use its members to cause anarchy to amass support ahead of the polls when the country was enjoying peace and unity.
President Lungu on Sunday led Zambians in prayers for peace and unity with an appeal to politicians to bury their differences and campaign within the rule of law as a way of curbing political violence.
Mr Lungu called on all political party leaders to advise their members to restrain themselves from retaliation when they were provoked.
"To all my fellow political leaders, let us remember that Zambia is bigger than any candidate. Therefore, let us respect and operate within the rule of law.
"All of us have a responsibility to maintain our unmatched record as a beacon of peace," the President said.