The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says violence, if not addressed immediately, has the potential to undermine the electoral process.
And the commission has maintained that the election will hold as scheduled following assurance by the police command that calm had returned to Kaoma, where a UPND cadre was shot dead by a PF supporter on Sunday.
In a statement, Monday, ECZ public relations manager Margaret Chimanse stated that such acts of violence made it impossible for the electorate to freely participate in political activities.
“The commission strongly urges political party 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,” Chimanse stated.
“The commission notes with regret the violence that occurred during the campaigns in Kaoma, Western Province yesterday (Sunday), 6th October 2019. The commission is concerned that such violence makes it impossible for the electorate to freely participate in political activities. The desire of the commission is to conduct free, fair and credible elections.”
Chimanse stated that the occurrence of violence in Kaoma was a sign that calls for the ending of violence made by the commission have not yielded any results.
“The occurrence of the violence in Kaoma shows that appeals by the commission to end political violence have not yielded any results, and the perpetuation of political violence and the loss of life have regrettably an impact on the credibility of elections. The commission therefore strongly condemns the two political parties, the Patriotic Front and the United Party for National Development which have been cited in the press statement by the police command as being responsible for the violence,” stated Chimanse, adding that the polls would continue as scheduled.
“We wish to appeal to the police to undertake thorough investigations and bring to book all culprits, notwithstanding their political affiliation. Given the assurance by the police command that calm has since been restored and the situation brought under control, the polls will take place as scheduled on Thursday 10th October, 2019.”