Opposition members killed ahead of Zambia poll
Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated polls, rights groups report that state sponsored agents of the ruling Patriotic Front members are killing opposition members at the instigation of government.
Members of the liberal opposition, United Party for National Development (UPND) are largely targeted.
According to Zambian Watchdog, as of Wednesday, 14 killings allegedly instigated by the ruling party had been recorded with the latest University of Zambia student slain buried in Namwala, south of the country.
Concern has also been raised the ruling party was targeting media viewed too critical of government.
Last week, government forced the closure of privately-owned Post newspaper for alleged tax evasion.
Police allegedly assaulted editor-in-chief Fred M’membe, his wife and senior staff after they were arrested for contesting the decision.
Rights groups said the closure and arrests were part of the clampdown, raising doubts of free and fair elections.
Controversy has already marred preparations.
This includes the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) awarding the contract to print the ballot papers to a Dubai-based firm, appointment of unqualified allies of President Edgar Lungu to the Constitutional Court, the hurried enactment of legislation conferring immunity from prosecution on ECZ officials and the alleged registration of thousands of foreign nationals on the national electoral roll.
The frontrunners in the presidential race are the incumbent Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema.
– CAJ News
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