The Electoral Commission of Zambia(ECZ) has lifted the partial suspension of the Patriotic Front and United Party for National Development to conduct physical campaigns in Lusaka district.
ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano said after suspending PF and UPND in four districts, Lusaka was partially lifted as some restrictions were still enforced with regard to physical campaigns.
Mr. Nshindano said this suspension has since been lifted and expects the two political party structure to adhere to the directives so as to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections.
The Chief electoral officer stated during a joint press briefing with the Zambia Police, PF and UPND leaders, that electoral violence undermines the credibility of any elections and must not be tolerated.
“Intolerance has been seen to be at the center and we can see the cordial relationship that has been existing in leaders of the political parties, we hope coexistence will trickle down to the supporters and ensure that we conduct a free, fair and credible election come 12th August,” he added.
Speaking at the same event, PF Secretary General Davis Mwila has committed to adhere to the resolutions of the meeting held in Lusaka yesterday with the Zambia Police, UPND and ECZ.
Mr Mwila said the resolutions of the meeting include, strict adherence to COVID-19 health guidelines during campaigns, PF and UPND to respect each other’s rights to freely campaign without interference and violence, the two political parties should desist from tampering with each other’s campaign materials such as posters and billboards and they should not violate any provisions of the electoral code of conduct.
Mr Mwila has since cautioned all members not to engage themselves in any forms of electoral malpractices.
“Electoral malpractices are against the principles and values of the patriotic front and will not be accepted,” he said.
Meanwhile, UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda said the party will endeavor to abide by the rules and regulations that govern the elections.
Mr Imenda has directed UPND members to strictly adhere to code of conduct of elections as the party will not protect anyone who will willfully disobey the law without any justifiable cause.
“We look forward to the impartial implementation of the resolutions and all parties are urged to comply without exception in order for the elections to be free and fair,” he added.
And Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has called on all political parties to stick to their commitment to peace as well as campaign schedules as submitted to relevant authorities.
Mr Kanganja added that all activities be conducted in COVID-19 guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Health.
“Zambia is a country of laws and as such no one shall be left to behind contrary to what the law provide,” he said.
The Inspector General has warned all police officers to decisively deal with matters of political violence and make more arrests because that is one of the effective deterrents to crime.
In June 2021, ECZ suspend all campaigns for the UPND and PF in Lusaka, Mpulungu, Namwala and Nakonde due to political violence. Two weeks later, the Commission further lifted the suspension in Mpulungu, Namwala and Nakonde district but physical campaigns in Lusaka remained suspended.