The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) says it has observed early campaigns by the PF and UPND in Katuba constituency.
And CCMG says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has not done any preparations in terms of voter education in the named constituency.
In its long-term observation program which was conducted in all the seven wards of Katuba, CCMG,
which is chaired by ZCCB secretary general Fr Cleophas Lungu, stated that it did not observe any instances of government vehicles being used for campaign activities or any political parties providing handouts.
“Early Campaigning – While the official campaign period starts on 11 July and ends on 29 July 2019 at 18:00, CCMG observed early campaign activities being conducted by the Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND), including party mobilization meetings and door-to-door mobilization. CCMG Observers witnessed and 20% heard of rallies being conducted by the Patriotic Front (PF), reporting that there were PF party mobilization meetings reported on 28 June 2019 in Chinika area of Katuba Ward. In addition, 20% of CCMG Observers head of door to door party mobilization being conducted by the United Party for National Development (UPND) on 25 June 2019 in 13 Miles area of Katuba ward. CCMG Observers did not witness or hear of any campaign activities associated with a political party other than PF and UPND. CCMG Observers did not witness or hear of the use of vehicles without number plates for campaign purposes, nor did CCMG Observers witness or hear of police providing security at campaign events,” CCMG stated.
It observed that ECZ had not embarked on any preparations in terms of voter education in the named constituency.
“Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Preparations. None of CCMG’s Observers witnessed or heard of any preparations by the ECZ for the 30 July by-election in Katuba. Voter Information/Education None of CCMG’s Observers witnessed or heard of voter education/information activities by either the ECZ, civil society organisations (CSOs), or the District Voter Education Committee (DVEC) in Katuba. However, 20% of CCMG’s Observers witnessed local media in Cholokelo Ward conducting voter education/information activities on 27 June 2019 on Komboni Radio during their afternoon programming. None of CCMG’s Observers witnessed or heard of any voter education/information posters or billboards, or any road shows. None of CCMG’s Observers witnessed or 5 heard of any voter education/information activities targeting women, youth or people with disabilities,” read the statement.
The CCMG, which is composed of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) through Caritas Zambia has since encouraged ECZ to hold a meeting with stakeholders and ensure that provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct are upheld.
It has also encouraged the Zambia police to work with political parties to ensure that there is a peaceful campaign period.
“CCMG did not observe any instances of political parties or candidates being prevented from conducting a campaign activity in a public space. Additionally, CCMG did not observe any instances of campaign activities taking place in prohibited spaces. CCMG also did not observe any instances of government vehicles being used for campaign activities, nor any instances of political parties or candidates providing handouts. 6 None of CCMG observers witnessed or heard of any instances of disruption during campaign activities nor any government restrictions on campaign. CCMG did not observe instances of any traditional or religious leaders using their influence to support a particular party or candidate. CCMG did not observe any instances of political party youth wearing military attire or masks, nor any instances of political parties transporting youth from outside of Katuba Constituency,” the statement read.
“CCMG did not observe any case of use of language which is inflammatory, defamatory or insulting or which constitutes incitements to public disorder, insurrection, hate, or violence or war. None of CCMG’s observers observed any incidents where a party supporter or voter was sexually assaulted for political motives, nor observed any form of intimidation or harassment against a candidate or his/her supporter. Furthermore, CCMG did not observe any violent physical attacks during political campaign events, nor any cases of arming of supporters. CCMG did not observe any instances of buying of voters cards.”