The GOVERNANCE, Elections, Advocacy, Research Services (GEARS) Initiative Zambia says it is delighted at the peaceful manner political parties conducted themselves during the nominations of their candidates on Tuesday, 14 August, 2017 ahead of the three district council chairpersons and eight ward by-elections to be held on 14 September, 2017.
It is of the view that electoral stakeholders should endeavor to promote conducive electoral environment by practicing politics of respect and tolerance in Lavushimanda, Itezhi-Itezhi and Kanchibiya districts and also in the eight wards by-elections.
GEARS Executive director, Macdonald Chipenzi says a statement today that his organisation says it is in receipt of an incident of violence involving a district commissioner and UPND cadres in Itezhi-Itezhi District of Central Province which happened on Wednesday, 15 August, 2017, a day after peaceful nomination.
This isolated incident of electoral violence ahead of the Itezhi-Itezhi District Council Chairperson by-election is most regrettable and should remind all those involved that the Itezhi-Itezhi seat was nullified before on account of violence that happened during the 2016 General Elections. Therefore, violence must not be encouraged again to avoid a repeat of petitioned electoral outcomes, he said.
“ It is also surprising how a civil servant, in the name of a district commissioner, got entangled in political activities which are supposed to be a game of active political practitioners. The alleged involvement of the Itezhi-Itezhi District Commission in transporting ruling party cadres to the scene of violence is uncalled for and must be condemned in the strongest term possible, “ said Mr. Chipenzi.
The GEARS Executive director says his organisation was calling on all district commissioners in areas where by-elections are taking place to restrict themselves to their job description, if any, than getting involved in political scuffles with political party cadres as way of “killing” boredoms.
Further, we call on the appointing authority to censure such characters to stop such practices because they demean and politicise the offices of civil servants, he say.
“ GEARS Initiative Zambia would urge all political party, candidates and sympathisers to campaign within the precinct of the Public Order Act, Electoral process Act and electoral code Conduct and as an organisation would continue to observe the enforcement of these pieces of legislation and also the conduct of electoral players before, during and after the by-elections, “ he said.