POLICE spokesperson Esther Katongo says the service will engage political parties on the need to stop early campaigns.
In an interview, Katongo said police was avoiding a confrontational route over this issue.
“In the Electoral Process Act, campaigns have got a specific period in which they are supposed to be done. But this time around it is not time for campaigns, it is too early for them to start campaigns so we need help from political parties, we will begin by engaging them. Because if we come in with full force, you will be the first ones talking against the police so we don’t want to be in confrontation with these people. We will continue to engaging them so that they wait for the appropriate time,” said Katongo.
On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said activities outside the campaign period were matters which could only be handled by law enforcement agencies as they fall outside the ambit of the Commission.
Responding to a press query, ECZ Corporate Affairs Manager Patricia Luhanga said the commission did not expect political parties to engage in premature campaigns.
“The Electoral Code of Conduct provides for mechanisms for making complaints for breaches of the Code to Conflict Management Committees. Important to note is that the Commission enforces the Code within the confines of the prescribed campaign period. Activities outside the campaign period are matters for law enforcement agencies as these fall outside the ambit of the Commission. The Commission does not expect political parties to engage in premature campaigns and will soon engage the Political Party Liaison Committee over the matter and ensure that political parties desist from embarking upon campaigns before the Commission announces the campaign period,” stated Luhanga.