Zambia
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Restrict political parties campaign time, ECZ urged

Stakeholders in North-Western Province have called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to strictly maintain political parties’ campaign timetable to avoid political violence during elections.

Kondwani Munyeka says political party cadres get frustrated to be told at the last minute that their preferred presidential candidate will not hold an anticipated meeting because a leader of a party in power will be in an area.

Mr Munyeka said out of the frustration, the aggrieved group, mostly youths may resort to cause disturbance on the opposite group and spark violence.

“An opposition political party president has been cleared through the police and a permit is given to go and campaign at a certain place and then at the last minute, probably at the airport they are stopped that the other person is coming so the activity should not take place,” he said.

Mr Munyeka was contributing during a discussion on causes of political violence conducted for provincial stakeholders in Solwezi yesterday by the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights and Good Governance.

North-Western Development Council of Elders secretary, Kenneth Kapata said transporting cadres from different regions should be discouraged because it is also a source of violence.

“Political parties have a tendency of ferrying cadres from one region to another, from one district to another, from one ward to another. The people that are going there in most cases they are armed. I think we should put measures in place so that the transportation of cadres from one place to another should stop,” Mr Kapata said.

He said another cause of political violence is the habit of some political leaders pronouncing certain areas as a no go area for their opponents, mainly from certain regions.

And Council of Elders vice secretary, Benjamin Chiyangi said there is need to put in place a law that will compel police conduct themselves professionally without being intimidated because application of the Public Order Act by police during elections is another factor that causes political violence.

Another stakeholder, Vincent Syanungu said during campaigns, politicians should concentrate on talking about what they intend to do for the people through their manifestos and not hate speeches on other people from particular regions.

Meanwhile, senior headman Mulowanyama Sendwe of Kapijimpanga chiefdom said Members of Parliament need to sensitize their electorates on the meaning of democracy so that they understand that democracy means competition of ideas and not engaging in fighting one another because of supporting people from different political parties.

In winding up the discussion, Parliamentary Committee Chairperson, Clement Andeleki said they are consulting stakeholders because political violence is serious issue which is strange to the character of Zambians and therefore, there is need to put measures that will protect the country’s values.

Other members on the Committee include Dundumwenzi MP, Edgar Sing’ombe who is the vice Chairperson, Chilubi MP, Mulenga Fube, Lukashya MP, George Chisanga, Banweulu MP, Anthony Kasandwe, Kalabo Central MP, Chinga Miyutu, Kanyama MP, Monty Chinkuli and Pemba MP, Lameck Hamwaata.