President Edgar Lungu has warned that he will not hesitate to use his constitutional powers to address electoral violence if state institutions like the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Zambia Police Service failed to do their work to stop the violence.
Speaking to journalists at State House last evening when he was harvesting fish, the President said that government is aware of a ploy by the opposition to deliberately cause violence during the election period, adding that the opposition’s idea is to make the people rise against police officers in the country.
He however said that government will decisively deal with those who are deliberately causing violence whilst playing the victim, on the other hand, adding that the opposition is hoping to use a tactic that was used in a neighbouring country during elections but that it will not work.
President Lungu reminded the opposition that he is still the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and can invoke powers to ensure sanity is forcefully restored, and that he is still in charge not until a fresh mandate is given following the end of polls on August 12 and warned people causing violence not to push him into the route of invoking constitutional powers to stop the violence.
President Lungu urged those tasked with the responsibility to ensure rules and laws to act accordingly and noted that in the event police and the Electoral Commission of Zambia fails to play their part he will be forced to invoke powers given to him by the Zambian Constitution.
“I am still in charge of this country. If the rules and laws that have been put in place are not respected by those charged with the responsibility, if ECZ can not do their part, if police can not do their part, in the Zambian Constitution if you read carefully, I have power given to me by the Zambian Constitution which I can invoke at any time. Do not push me against that route,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu also expressed concern with the high numbers of Covid cases in the country and repeated the warning that he will not hesitate to use his constitutional powers to protect the people if institutions that are mandated to enforce Covid guidelines fail to do their work.
He said people will not be allowed to die because of elections and failure by institutions to enforce the guidelines. The head of state said Zambians should adhere to Covid-19 regulations because the rate of infection is high.