Anti-Voter Apathy (AVAP) Executive Director Richwell Mulwani says the levels of violence so far perpetrated in Chilanga ahead of the June 5th parliamentary by-election might force a low voter turnout.

In an interview with News Diggers! Mulwani challenged President Edgar Lungu to take a very serious stance and condemn violence.

He also asked the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to disqualify any candidate who will be found perpetrating violence.

“We condemn violence. Violence cannot be condoned in a democracy. And we are challenging the two political parties, the PF and UPND that they should stop the violence in Chilanga. They are not above the law. We are calling upon the Zambia Police to deal severely with these people that are creating violence in Chilanga. The voters are scared to go and vote because of the levels of violence that is being perpetrated by imported youths, youths that do not even reside in Chilanga, they are coming from Lusaka. Some of them are coming from far areas to come and bring confusion to the peaceful people of Chilanga. It is those disgruntled youths who always take tujilijili and Kachaso who come and bring confusion,” Mulwani lamented.

He noted that cadres were being imported from other parts of the country to go and cause violence in Chilanga.

“They should be totally condemned. And our fear is that if this violence is going to continue, surely democracy is going to be undermined. We do not want violence to undermine democracy. Democracy is about respecting people’s rights. So we are challenging Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the president of PF, and also the President of this country, that he needs to take a very serious stance against violence in Chilanga. And also the campaign managers for both parties, they need to really stop their supporters from engaging in violence. We know that they are the ones behind violence,” he observed.

Mulwani feared that if the situation was not contained, it would cause a lower voter turnout in the area.

“So, we challenge these political leaders that they need to come together and condemn violence. And we want to appeal to the people of Chilanga that they need to report any acts of violence to the police and the police should act. We don’t want to see a toothless police, no! The police should protect the people of Zambia. They need to move in and arrest these people who are perpetrating violence. And also the Electoral Commission of Zambia should disqualify any candidate that is going to be found creating violence in Chilanga. This kind of violence that we are seeing cannot be tolerated. And we shall continue advocating that the rights of people must be respected. We want to see an apathy-free Zambia. People should not be surprised when we record low voter turnout in Chilanga. The situation in Chilanga is very hostile in terms of freedom of people to go and vote on that day,” feared Mulwani.