Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) public relations manager Margaret Chimanse says the commission is not aware of the ruling Patriotic Front’s early election campaigns on the Copperbelt Province.
Earlier this month, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo, who is Kabushi PF member of parliament, donated 4,000 25Kg bags of breakfast mealie-meal, 4,000 5 litre containers of cooking oil, 6,000 boxes of boom detergent paste, drinks and biscuits, among others, to senior citizens in his constituency.
He later distributed 1,000 pockets of cement to different schools with ongoing construction works in his constituency and donated 60 brand new computers.
“The people of Kabushi will never walk alone. There are people that don’t see what Edgar Lungu sees. It is not that they are blind, but because they have decided not to see what President Edgar Lungu is doing. Kabushi is a barrack of Edgar Chagwa Lungu. We have heard some flies, mosquitos, but we have doom here in Kabushi. We will spray doom on the mosquitos moving about. You just eat nshima with kapenta and you come and say you want to be MP in Kabushi, my friend, take your time. So, these mosquitos that are coming, let them just make that mosquito noise. Just tell them that bulldozer is bulldozer,” Lusambo said as he donated the goods worth over a million kwacha.
And around one week later, PF Copperbelt Provincial Chairman Nathan Chanda handed over some motorbikes for campaigns in Masaiti, Mpongwe and Lufwanyama at a meeting with party officials.
He further told the party officials to start party mobilization with immediate effect.
“In encouraging you party officials to conduct party mobilization, we are handing over the four motorbikes that the party headquarters in Lusaka donated from President Edgar Lungu through the secretary general, Mr Davis Mwila. These motorbikes are for Masaiti, Mpongwe and Lufwanyama Districts. We need to work together and love each other. Let us go and mobilize the party. Mobilization is not for the converted PF supporters. Let us go and mobilize to those that are not in PF. We need to grow the party because politics is about numbers and have all the 13 councillors in Mpongwe belong to PF. We should work hard,” Chanda said.
But when Chimanse was asked for ECZ’s position on PF’s early campaigns on the Copperbelt Province, and whether the party wasn’t breaching the Electoral Act, she told News Diggers in an interview that ECZ currently did not have a position on the issue because it was hearing about the incidents for the first time.
“We don’t have a position on that (early campaigns) yet because we are hearing it for the first time. We would have to confirm if that’s true, but the Electoral Code of Conduct just gives us powers on the campaign period, which is when we declare the campaign open. And we are looking at the campaigns now for Katuba, which is opening on July 11 and going on up to 30th,” said Chimanse.
“ECZ administers elections, and as part of that mandate, regulates conduct of electoral campaigns once campaign period has been prescribed. The Electoral Code of Conduct regulates campaigns once prescribed. The Public Order Act ordinarily governs public order beyond campaign periods.”