Ban ends on campaigning in Zambia poll
IFrom ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE ban by the Electoral Commission of Zambia on campaigns in the capital city ends today (Monday) with uncertainty as to the credibility of the upcoming poll.
ECZ suspended the campaigning exercise for ten days following interparty clashes between the supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).
There have been allegations President Edgar Lungu, in power for just over a year after winning a ballot triggered by the death of his predecessor, Michael Sata, planned to rig the election.
Owing to the electoral authorities’ measures, no public rallies, meetings, processions or door-to-door campaigning would be allowed in Lusaka. The electoral commission had received reports of political violence in someother towns and warned it would halt campaigning there.
ECZ will resume its position today.
ECZ first threatened to bar campaigning on June 19 over growing cases of violence.
The ban came less than three weeks after the biggest independent newspaper, The Post, was shut down over a tax dispute – a move seen as an attempt to silence it before the August 11 vote.
Meanwhile, the European Observer Mission deployed in the Southern African country called for calm.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, said the upcoming elections were expected to be one of the most competitive in the country’s history and could further consolidate Zambia’s track record for well-run elections.
“I trust that these forthcoming elections will be transparent and peaceful, with all sides refraining from actions and statements that may incite violence. Of course, all parties should abide by the law and resolve any election dispute through dialogue and available legal remedies.”
– CAJ News
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