The Governance, Elections, Advocacy, Research Services has observed with concern voter apathy and spates of violence that characterized the Kafue By-election especially in the afternoon of the voting day.
The queues and calm that characterized the morning voting waned out in the afternoon when polling stations started recording trickles of voters and when incidents of violence started being witnessed.
For example, out of about 900 registered voters at Kafue Day School only about 170 had voted by 15hrs while at Nakatete School, about 200 had voted out of about 700 voters registered.
It is likely that less than 50% turn out will be recorded in this Kafue by-election, according to Organisation Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi.
Mr. Chipenzi said GEARS Initiative recorded violent confrontations between UPND and PF cadres in the afternoon.
He said at Kafue Day School around 15hrs UPND and PF cadres clashed.
Mr. Chipenzi said according to the investigations done by GEARS Initiative, the genesis of the Kafue Day School fracas was that about 10 PF youth camped behind one of the polling streams within the prohibited area.
He said the youth carried a “box” which, when the report went to the UPND camp, raised suspicions that PF youths had carried a “ballot box containing suspected ballot papers” when in fact not.
Mr. Chipenzi said the youth claimed they were a security wing for the ruling party and effort to remove them failed and in the process, UPND responded by mobilizing themselves and overpowered the 10 PF youth, cornered them and hacked one of them with a panga who almost fainted.
He said Police apprehended one person and later calmed the situation while the PF youth left heading towards turnpike.
Mr. Chipenzi said GEARS Initiative also received a report of another violent confrontation between UPND and PF at Lukolongo Ward.
He said another violent confrontation happened at the Council Hall and our monitors report that this happen when Minister of Lands, Jean Kapata, visited the place and allegedly confronted the ECZ officials who told her that she was not accredited and should not be in the hall.
Mr. Chipenzi said this is said to have angered the Minister and later, she was joined by her PF cadres causing commotion an incident which attracted UPND cadres who went on rampage beating all those around the hall accusing them of contributing to the confusion triggering a fight. One PF cadre is said to have been hit by an object by the UPND cadres right there.
However, Mr. Chipenzi said GEARS Initiative has not yet established the cause of the violent confrontation in Lukolongo.
He however said GEARS Initiative is happy with the manner with which the Police have handled the confrontation and hope would continue in the same manner up to the end of the process.