The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has regretted the violence that characterised the just-ended Sesheke parliamentary and other ward by-elections in which several people got injured and others died at the hands of violent PF and UPND party cadres.

In a statement, ECZ public relations manager Margaret Chimanse called on political leaders to take responsibility for the violence and show leadership by condemning acts of violence.

Chimanse, who called on the police to undertake the necessary investigations into the violence and bring culprits to book, expressed concern that violence had the capacity to undermine the electoral process if not seriously handled.

“The Commission noted with regret the violence that occurred during the polls in Sesheke, Lundazi and Mufumbwe. The Commission is concerned that such violence makes it impossible for the electorate to freely exercise their right to vote. We, therefore, urge the police to undertake necessary investigations and to bring to book all culprits. The Commission’s mandate is to conduct free and fair elections and hence, the reliance on law enforcement agencies such as the police to maintain law and order during elections,” stated Chimanse.

“Additionally, the Commission strongly urges political leaders to take responsibility and demonstrate leadership by condemning political violence. Violence has the potential to undermine the electoral process if not addressed immediately. The Commission hopes that in the wake of the country’s democratic dispensation, political parties can gain maturity by participating in elections without exhibiting acts of violence.”