Political parties have been urged to desist from making statements that could incite election violence and civil war in the country. Speaking on Monday, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), expressed sadness over the inciting remarks made by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema.
Malema had on Sunday during an interview on Al Jazeera threatened that if the ANC continues to respond violently to peaceful protests‚ “We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun”.
SACBC Wants Political Parties To Maintain Peace In SA
Responding further, Bishop Abel Gabuza‚ the chairperson of the SACBC Justice and Peace Commission stated that the organization is deeply saddened to hear of war rhetoric by the leader of the EFF. The SACBC Justice and Peace commission therefore adjured all political parties to adhere to the Charter of Election ethics that they signed on April 13.
Bishop Abel Gabuza made it known to all the parties that peace is the ultimate because war does no one good. “We have seen the evil consequences of civil war in other African countries‚ including massive loss of lives‚ a refugee crisis and irreparable damage to the economy. We do not want our nation to take such a path. We therefore appeal to all political parties to refrain from actions and rhetoric that could fuel election violence and civil war,” Gabuza said.
He also seized the opportunity to beckon all and sundry to refrain from violent acts that could paint the rainbow nation black, adding that the church is deeply concerned especially now that local government elections are at the corner.
“If the government wants to stop violent protests‚ it should be serious in its efforts to tackle the root causes‚ including the rising economic inequalities‚ youth unemployment‚ a culture of patronage and the fierce scramble for political positions — especially when such positions are considered as an opportunity for self-enrichment. The use of excessive force by the police to curb the violent protests are a cause of deep concern. Both should stop.”
Meanwhile, following Malema’s heavy and baleful assertions on Sunday, the African National Congress revealed that it has laid charges against Malema in his personal capacity with Hillbrow police station. ANC National Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa announced this development on Twitter, revealing that the party had gone to the police to lay a charge of treason against Malema.
The ruling party had earlier described Malema’s statement as a call to violence. It added that “Malema’s reckless utterances display a shocking lack of judgement on the part of the EFF…The remarks made by Mr Malema are a clear incitement to people to commit acts of violence…‚” ANC’s Kodwa said.
The EFF has been demanding the ousting of President Jacob Zuma for several months, accusing him of corruption. The party was founded and entered Parliament with 25 deputies after the May 2014 elections. It is pertinent to note that Malema was ANC’s former youth league leader but he was expelled in 2012.