The United States (US) will impose economic and visa sanctions on Zambians that will promote violence and undermine the electoral process in the August 12, 2021 general elections.
US Charge d’ Affaires David Young said the US is prepared to apply financial sanctions, visa restrictions and travel bans on people who will violate human rights and democratic freedoms of Zambians in this year’s general elections.
Mr. Young said the US and the world will be keenly watching the actions and words of candidates, party leaders, cadres and other stakeholders and assess grounds for action after the elections.
“We will hold accountable any individuals who promote violence, undermine electoral processes, engage in fraudulent or corrupt behaviour or otherwise violate democratic rights and the foundations of free elections,” said Mr. Young.
The US envoy said the United States is a friend of democracy in Zambia and wants to see free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections on August 12, 2021.
“I want to make it clear that there should be no intimidation of voters by cadre groups from either party. The police and military should apply the law equally and humanely in defense of the safety and fundamental right of Zambian citizens to vote and participate in the democratic process,” he said.
Mr. Young said the August 12 elections are competitive and no one should be misled by polls and surveys to claim electoral victory.
He said Zambia has a commendable record of democratic elections and urged Zambians to shun violence and be patriotic by vote for their preferred candidates on August 12.
He further said his government will continue to provide technical assistance to strengthen the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s election administration.
“We will continue engaging with ECZ to support a transparent process that includes counting, observing, reporting, and publicly announcing results along the way, constituency by constituency so that we can continue building confidence in the electoral system and process,” said Mr. Young.
He urged Zambian politicians not to withdraw from the elections on account of alleged electoral violations but continue with the process to cement the country’s multiparty democratic dispensation.
And Mr. Young has confirmed that the US will participate in election observer missions and will deploy 12 teams across the country to monitor the August 12, 2021 general elections.
He dispelled assertions that the US and other election observer teams are biased and stated that his country will continue to remain neutral and not support any camp.
“Observer missions are not taking sides, we will not…but we will talk to everybody, that’s what diplomats do,” he explained.
The US envoy however insisted that the political landscape should be even for all candidates to campaign fairly and promote their visions and agenda for Zambia to the electorates as opposed to denying others an opportunity to talk to voters.
And Mr. Young said the US remains committed to supporting Zambia’s Covid-19 response and vaccination programme.
He said in addition to the over 300,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines given to Zambia last month, the US government will soon donate another consignment of Pfizer vaccines for use by Zambian citizens.
The US envoy has since paid glowing tribute to the leadership at the Ministry of Health for managing the health sector.
He said the Ministry of Health should be commended for overseeing huge amounts of money meant for supporting the health sector as well as combating the Covid-19 pandemic
The Full Statement