The United Party for National Development has accused President Edgar Lungu of blocking the party’s presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema from campaigning for the August 12 general elections.
In a statement released to the media by the party’s secretary-general, Mr. Secretary General Batuke Imenda, the party said that they were disappointed with government institutions that are being used by President Edgar Lungu to block United Party for National Development (UPND) Alliance presidential candidate, Hakainde Hichilema, from campaigning for the August 12 general elections, adding that what these institutions are doing is an affront to the country’s democracy given that this is campaign period.
Mr. Imenda said that Mr. Hichilema has consistently been stopped from campaigning on the ground by Patriotic Front (PF) government machinery such as the Zambia Air Force (ZAF), the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Zambia Police on claims of flouting the electoral code of conduct.
“It is disturbing that a day after Mr. Hichilema had flown to Solwezi where thousands of residents turned up to welcome him and listen to his message of hope, the government decided to revoke his permit to fly to various destinations, ” he said.
Mr. Imenda said that Mr. Hichilema was blocked from going to Rufunsa yesterday to distribute sanitizers and face masks while the police allowed Kambwili to campaign in Ndola and Luanshya.
“We are aware that President Lungu and his running mate will be campaigning in Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi today. We will see what the Inspector General of Police will do going by the threats he was making yesterday. What kind of justice is this? We have always maintained that rigging is a process and the process has started,” Mr. Imenda said.
Mr. Imenda said that the PF government was clearly aware that the UPND Alliance was the only hope for the long-suffering Zambians, hence their insistence to block any efforts by President Hichilema from freely campaigning as enshrined in the Zambian Constitution.
“The actions by the PF through ZAF, ECZ, and Zambia Police to stop Mr. Hichilema from campaigning could be likened to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ where the ruling party has more rights than the opposition and the rest of the Zambians.
“The action goes to show that the PF is afraid of losing the forthcoming elections and hence interfering in the operations of government institutions in a last-ditch effort to have an upper hand.
“As the UPND Alliance, we have since written to ZAF Commander Lieutenant-General, David Muma, Police Inspector-General Kakoma Kanganja, the ECZ and the European Union Elections Observer Mission in Zambia highlighting the unfair practices by the PF in the run-up to the elections.
“Blocking Mr. Hichilema from campaigning to would-be voters by state machinery is a clear violation of the electoral code of conduct. We will not relent in bringing economic emancipation to the Zambian people who have suffered untold misery from the PF regime,” Mr. Imenda said.
The UPND Secretary-General also called on the international community to take note of these developments and effect necessary steps.