- June 15, 2021
- Posted by: Admin
- Category: 2021 General Election, News Stories, Press Release, Public Notice
Media Personnel, Staff of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Good morning everyone and welcome to this morning’s briefing.
Just to recap that the last time we met here, we briefed you on the suspension of campaign rallies in the view of the increase in COVID-19 cases.
This was done to safeguard the lives of people who form a critical part of stakeholders in the electoral process.
Coming to today, you may recall that the Commission issued a statement on Friday 11th June 2021 noting with serious concern the escalating political violence in Lusaka and selected parts of the country.
In that statement, we indicated that the Patriotic Front and the United Party for National Development were the main perpetrators of electoral violence in the country.
The Commission reminded the two political parties that the Electoral Code of Conduct which their leaders swore oath to applies to this period of campaigns and must be adhered to without exception.
The Commission further stated that it would not hesitate to invoke the Code of Conduct and suspend indefinitely all manner of campaigns should these violent acts continue.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Commission indicated that it would be following the activities of both the PF and UPND with keen interest and should electoral violence continue, both parties risk being suspended.
Sadly, the Commission has observed the continued disregard of the Electoral Code of Conduct. Despite the counsel rendered, the vice has continued and thus far, escalated levels of violence were experienced in the following districts
- Nakonde and
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Commission has pursuant to Article 229, Sub-article 2 (e) of the Republican Constitution and Subparagraphs 4 (1) (c) (d) (i) and 11 (d) of the Electoral Code of Conduct suspended with immediate effect all manner of political campaigns for the Patriotic Front and United Party for National Development in Lusaka, Mpulungu, Namwala and Nakonde Districts due to escalating violence. The suspension will be reviewed after 14 days.
The Commission has since written to the affected Secretary Generals informing them of this decision.
In this regard, the concerned political parties will not be allowed to conduct any form of campaigns and all media houses are advised not to cover any political party activities for the two parties in the said jurisdiction. In the same vein, the Zambia Police should not allow any political activities by the affected parties.
Additionally, the Commission has suspended all political party road shows across the country as the findings on the ground indicate that road shows are not only in breach of COVID-19 protocols but also the Electoral Code of Conduct. Political parties have merely converted the road shows into mobile rallies.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you are fully aware, the country has continued to record an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and Zambia currently has one of the highest infection rates with our hospital bed capacity filling up, coupled with an increasing demand for oxygen.
We would like to reiterate that given the conduct of political parties and their lack of adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, we have a moral obligation to safeguard the lives of the people. We further need to ensure that the environment does not deteriorate to a level that would facilitate the conduct of elections impossible.
Further, we have noted with dismay that the road shows are being used to instigate violence, pulling down of campaign materials and instilling a sense of fear in the general public.
Campaigns are meant to give hope to the public through the sharing of campaign messages and not the maiming of each other and public disorder.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Commission has also restricted to a maximum of three members of any political party or independent candidates per household to conduct door to door campaigns and one vehicle for the public address campaigns.
Political parties and independent candidates are also reminded that it is unlawful to place campaign posters on private property and that includes residential property without consent, and the owners are at liberty to remove such materials.
The Commission would like to encourage all political players to be tolerant and promote coexistence, and will not condone lawlessness regardless of the political party perpetrating violence
In conclusion, let me highlight an important matter – the Commission is in the process of preparing accreditation for stakeholders who may wish to monitor the printing of ballot papers in Dubai. All stakeholders will be updated on the procedures and requirements in due course
I thank you and now invite questions