AVAP calls for peaceful Katuba polls, vows to report violent parties

The Anti-Voter Apathy (AVAP) have vowed to expose any political party which is going to create confusion and violence in the upcoming July 30 Katuba polls.

And AVAP says it will be important to apply the Electoral Code of Conduct throughout the election cycle in order to deal with the ongoing abuse of resources by political parties who conduct early campaigns.

In an interview, AVAP executive director Richwell Mulwani cautioned that the organization would report and expose any violent political party that intended to cause confusion at this month’s by-election.

He feared that Katuba constituency, being close to Lusaka, might inspire cadres to flock to that area to cause mayhem and confusion.

“We should not trouble the police or ECZ (Electoral Commission of Zambia) [because] these are institutions that have limitations in terms of how they can improve things. So, it is political parties who should take responsibility and a center stage in ensuring that they work responsibly. They should not be happy when they see their cadres beating other people because that is weakening the electoral process and that is undermining voter confidence. So, as AVAP, we are going to be on the ground and we shall expose any political party that is going to create confusion in Katuba,” Mulwani said.

And he observed that will be important to apply the Electoral Code of Conduct throughout the election cycle to deal with the abuse of resources by political parties who conduct early campaigns

“As AVAP, we will be doing our voter sensitization in Katuba within this week and we are going to use mobile visual units. We want to use eye-catching messages and also using the video to educate voters so that they can also participate in the elections. And we know that the ECZ will also be conducting their voter education there because it is normally done after nominations, and the nominations are on Thursday (July 11). So, those campaigns [by PF and UPND] were illegal because the campaign is starting on 11th July after the nominations. And we know that that is how political parties want to capitalize on the loopholes that are in the electoral process. [This] is why we are advocating that the Electoral Code of Conduct be applicable throughout the electoral cycle so that those abuses of resources exhibited by political parties who conduct early campaigns are dealt with,” said Mulwani.

“That is where there is a gap in terms of the law. The law is not adequate enough to cover the electoral cycle. This is why when someone wants to abuse resources outside the electoral campaign, it is not an issue of ECZ as to whether that person abrogated the law. However, our expectations are that political parties are going to be peaceful in Katuba and that all the voters in Katuba are going to be inspired, and that political parties are going to work responsibly in terms of restraining their cadres from creating electoral violence. That is our fear because Katuba is very close to Lusaka and all these cadres are going to flock Katuba so that they can campaign and cause confusion as we saw in other places like in Sesheke and in the Copperbelt. Those are violence-prone areas, they are hot spot areas for violence.”

         

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