The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says the Patriotic Front’s decision to establish a clothing line based on the party’s regalia does not contravene the Electoral Code of Conduct in any way.

In a letter dated October 29, PF secretary general Davies Mwila approved the establishment of the Pabwato Brand Shop by local businesswoman and entrepreneur Mary Nampungwe.

Mwila explained last month that the Pabwato Brand Shop was an innovation to popularise the party’s regalia as well as support local fashion designers and tailors to make fashionable clothing that would appeal to young people, especially.

Mwila added that this approach was widely used by airlines, car makers, and others to popularise their brands by crafting everyday branded fashionable clothes, further giving examples of the African National Congress (ANC) party of South Africa which he said had similar shops.

“We are also creating financial opportunities to local designers and tailors across the country. The African National Congress of South Africa has similar shops. [So] the [Pabwato Brand] Shop will also afford local fabric and clothes designers to pitch their designs for approval by Pabwato Brand Shop management in conjunction with the office of the Secretary General,” said Mwila.

Meanwhile, Napungwe said during the launch that setting up of Pabwato Brand Shops would also create tolerance among political players.

“The PF party is a popular brand in Zambia and its presence in Zambia is long-term. To ensure that its appeal to the masses and all classes in society is maintained, we came up with this innovation. We want members and supporters of the party to confidently walk in a shop and buy the regalia of their choice. Our designs have gone beyond T-shirts and Chitenges. This action also promotes tolerance among political players,” said Nampungwe.

And in an interview, Electoral Commission of Zambia public relations manager Margaret Chimanse explained that the PF was not breaking any law by coming up with the Pabwato Brand Shop, as long as they had an agreement with the designer.

“It is their symbol, they can use it. It’s like your company logo, you can use it anytime. It has nothing to do with the Electoral Code of Conduct. I think what is important is for the person who is doing the branding to work with the owners of the brand. If they are in agreement, I don’t think there is anything wrong. So you should be asking them, the owners of the brand, not the ECZ. [But] we need to study the Act further but if you are looking at just using the brand, I don’t think there is anything wrong, it’s like you using your own brand, you can use it at any time. Unless you are saying otherwise, it’s as simple as that,” said Chimanse.