When contacted for a comment, UPND Livingstone district spokesperson, Neto Halwabala said his party had made it clear that it would only participate in the referendum if it was conducted as a stand-alone and not alongside the general elections.
FODEP Livingstone chairperson Gideon Musonda said his organisation was very disappointed that some senior UPND officials were going round telling people not to participate in the referendum process, claiming that the process was meant to help the ruling party to rig the 11 August general elections.
Mr Musonda said it was unfortunate that a political party, which claims to have a huge following, could be peddling lies on an important national exercise such as the referendum.
He said the referendum was a very important exercise in any democracy as it enabled citizens to make informed choices on matters that concerned them.
He was speaking in an interview in Livingstone yesterday.
“I was disappointed and disheartened when I attended a UPND rally that was addressed by a very senior official from Lusaka where he was peddling lies that the referendum was a gimmick by the ruling party to rig the elections, telling people not to participate in it.
“Such kind of lies should not be entertained and it is unfortunate that political parties are not willing to help educate the citizenry, ”Mr Musonda said.
Mr Musonda however said FODEP would not relent in its referendum sensitisation campaigns because the nation needed about 3,750,000 people for the referendum exercise to be a success and called on political parties to help civil society organisations in educating the masses on the importance of the referendum.
“Political parties need to help by sensitising their members on the need to participate in this year’s referendum and we urge them to also participate in the referendum unlike misleading people because it is their democratic right to have a voice in the whole process,” he said.
And Mr Halwabala said his party had made it clear that it would only participate in the referendum if it was conducted as a stand-alone and not alongside the general elections.
“Our position as a party is, we can only participate if the referendum is done as a stand alone, not alongside general elections. We are not going to spend time on this stage managed referendum to confuse voters,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Musonda also disclosed that FODEP plans to train 119 election monitors on 3 August in readiness for the 11 August general elections.