The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) says it is concerned with the harassment of Prime TV journalist Jubilee Malambo by Luapula Province Minister Nixon Chilangwa during the nomination of Milenge council chairperson candidates on November 14.
And CCMG, which is chaired by Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) secretary general Fr Cleophas Lungu, says it is pleased to report that there has not been any incident of violence recorded ahead of the December 5 local government by-elections in Milenge and five other wards in selected parts of the country.
Fr Lungu stated that between November 21 to 27, 2019, CCMG long-term observers in Milenge Constituency urged political parties to refrain from harassing or threatening journalists during campaigns.
“CCMG notes with concern the harassment and threatening of journalist Jubilee Malambo by Hon Nixon Chilangwa, Luapula Provincial Minister. The incident was reported on 14 November 2019 during the nomination of candidates,” Fr Lungu stated.
The consortium of church mother bodies 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 also noted the absence of campaign activities by other political parties, except for the PF and UPND.
“None of the CCMG observers witnessed or head any voter education/information conducted by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) or local media in Milenge Constituency. Political Parties Campaign Activities – 100% of CCMG observers witnessed or heard of campaign activities being conducted by the Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND). CCMG Observers did not witness or hear of any campaign activities associated with any political party other than PF and UPND,” Fr Lungu stated.
He further stated that the monitoring group did not observe any use of government vehicles during campaigns.
“During this reporting period, none of CCMG observers witnessed or heard of a political party being prevented from conducting a campaign activity. 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. 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 Milenge Constituency,” he stated.
And Fr Lungu stated that there was no recorded use of inflammatory language among the campaigners.
“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. Additionally, CCMG did not observe any violent physical attacks during political campaign events, however a CCMG observer did report an instance of violence did occur related to a campaign activity. CCMG did not observe any instances of buying of voter’s cards, nor any instances of parties arming their supporters,” stated Fr Lungu.
Meanwhile, Fr Lungu urged political parties to refrain from harassing and threatening journalists as they carry out their duties during the campaign period and beyond.