Political Analysts have expressed mixed feeling over the move by political parties to undertake virtual campaign rallies with concerns to disenfranchise the rural community.
Political Scientist Alex N’goma who is a lecturer and researcher in the School of Humanities at the University of Zambia (UNZA) has described the initiative by political parties to hold virtual rallies as positive for the country’s democracy.
Dr Ng’oma told ZANIS in an interview that virtual rallies present a good opportunity for politicians to interact with the electorate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said reaching voters using this method is better than totally not carrying out any kind of campaign rallies.
Dr Ng’oma however said other forms of campaigns like adverts and programmes via traditional media should complement virtual political rallies.
“This can be supplemented by other measures like the use of social media platforms. The use of radio and TV discussions, all these methods combined together can amount to something,” he said.
However Political Analyst, Neo Simutanyi noted that virtual political party rallies have the potential to disenfranchise rural voters.
Speaking in a separate interview, Dr Simutanyi said the electorate in rural parts of the country may not have access to smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
Dr Simutanyi explained that in as much as the initiative is a good measure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters who have no access to smart devices including radio and television sets will be left out.
“A significant proportion of the population will be left out. Although these are very important measures, political parties should have it under consideration that they will not reach every person,” he said.
Political parties including the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), United Party for National Development (UPND) and Socialist Party have in the recent past embarked on virtual campaign rallies
Last month, the Electoral Commission of Zambia announced the suspension of campaign rallies ahead of the August 12, 2021 elections following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.