By Antonio M. Mwanza PF Media Director
Yesterday, His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu directed the Zambia Police Service and Health Authorities to ENFORCE the statutory ban on all public rallies in line with the Covid-19 health guidelines as guided by the Public Health Act Cap 295 of the Laws of Zambia.
It is important to note that restrictions on huge gatherings have been in place since last year when Government signed Statutory Instruments Numbers 21 and 22 to curb the spread of COVID-19 by banning huge gatherings which have scientifically proven to be super-spreader causes of COVID-19.
With the new Covid-19 variant and the third wave, which is deadlier and more contagious, it is only right that the Police and Health Authorities get to the ground and ensure STRICT ADHERENCE to the Covid-19 health guidelines as outlined in the aforementioned SI No. 21 and 22 to curb the spread of the disease and protect the health and lives of our people.
It is highly IRRESPONSIBLE for anyone to endanger the health and lives of the citizens all in the name of politics. Campaigns and elections must be conducted within the health framework that guarantees safety of individuals and the general public.
To claim that the President’s directive is meant to stop the opposition from campaigning is mischievous and gross misinformation as the ban on huge gatherings has been in place since last year and it affects all political parties, PF, included. No one is at an advantage. In fact, the PF has already taken the lead in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 by banning all its public campaign rallies.
There are so many ways in which political parties can effectively engage voters; they can use radio, television, social media, small gatherings and door to door events among many others to campaign. Rallies are not the only mode of campaigns. Moreover, life and public health is more important than public rallies.
We must learn from others, such as EUROPEAN countries who have banned all forms of huge gatherings such as public protests and rallies to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to promote public health and protect their citizens.
We have lost a lot of people to COVID-19 and we have many others who are currently in hospitals, battling for their lives.
We should not take the issue of health and life, lightly. Elections will come and go but a life once lost can not be replaced hence we must all be responsible enough and strictly adhere to the health guidelines as stipulated in our statutes.