Ruling UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda has condemned all sorts of violence by some youths yesterday in which UPND members are reported to have attacked PF members during the filing of nominations for the Lusangazi and Mkushi Council Chairperson by-elections.
Mr. Imenda, however, says that the Mkushi incident in Central Province was a result of provocation from the PF who after filing their nomination went straight to the UPND camp to provoke their colleagues, and at this point, UPND youths reacted.
He said that the party has witnessed high levels of political provocations by disgruntled opposition parties with intentions of testing the party’s tolerance as evidenced by numerous cases where some opposition members have been showing total disrespect for President Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr, Imenda says the UPND was overwhelmingly voted into government on August 12th, 2021, to restore the rule of law, among other leadership commitments and it was on the basis of strict adherence to the rule of law that President Hichilema declared that there will be no caderism in public places.
He said that so far, the UPND is satisfied with the levels at which its members have embraced President Hichilema’s directive of nonviolence adding that the party has not deviated from this position, especially since they suffered extreme levels of political violence under the PF regime.
And All People’s Congress Leader Nason Msoni said the reported violence in Mkushi and Lusangazi in Central and Eastern Provinces respectively is regrettable, unfortunate and must be condemned regardless of who the perpetrators may be.
Mr. Msoni said violence undermines the rule of law and discourages the full participation of decent citizens.
Meanwhile, he Governance, Elections, Advocacy, Research Service-GEARS- Initiative Zambia has condemned the acts of violence experienced during the filing in of nominations for the Mkushi and Lusangazi District Council Chairperson by-elections yesterday.
GEARS Initiative Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi has told Phoenix News that his organization strongly believes that political and electoral violence should have no room in the new government which suffered such fates while in opposition.
Mr. Chipenzi says though, majority of nomination processes that took place yesterday were generally conducted in a peaceful manner by the Electoral Commission of Zambia-ECZ-, the ugly scenes of violence and confrontations witnessed in Mkushi and Lusangazi are extremely unfortunate and unacceptable.
And Mr. Chipenzi is concerned about the conduct of the police at Lusangazi nomination Centre where they blocked the PF candidate entry to the nomination Centre and later arrested him on account of inadequacies in his academic qualifications.
Meanwhile, the Patriotic Front in Southern Province says their candidates that were scheduled to file for nominations in yesterday’s Bbondo and Chibuwe ward by elections in Gwembe District are nowhere to be seen after they were allegedly blocked from filing in the nominations by suspected UPND cadres.
Party Provincial Secretary Golden Nyambe tells Phoenix News that the party members yesterday scampered after they were chased by some known UPND officials who blocked them from contesting the by-elections.
But Gwembe District Electoral Officer Maliwa Machu says despite the PF complaining of being blocked from filing in the nominations, their members were not seen within the radius of the polling station.
And Presidential Spokesperson Anthony Bwalya has reiterated and reassured citizens, that president Hakainde Hichilema does not condone, promote or espouse the culture of violence in Zambian politics, in all its forms, regardless of who is involved.
Mr. Bwalya says the head of state will continue to urge citizens to exercise maximum civility in the course of enjoying their political freedoms, while encouraging the police to be bold, proactive and decisive in dealing with all forms of violence in Zambia’s politics and beyond, and ensure that perpetrators are held fully accountable and brought to justice.