THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should punish political parties perpetrating violence instead of threatening to cut the campaign period that would affect parties that have been campaigning peacefully, MMD president Nevers Mumba has said.
But both the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) have said even if the campaigns were banned, it would not change the outcome of the presidential election because they had campaigned adequately and were only waiting to be confirmed victorious.
Dr Mumba told the Sunday Nation that the MMD would reject the ban if the ECZ went ahead to cut the campaign period because it was not his political party that was engaged in violence and accused the PF and the UPND of perpetrating violence.
He said if the ECZ was worried about violence, it was important that punitive action was taken against the PF and the UPND because the violence that had been reported across the country in recent days was associated with the two political parties.
Dr Mumba said he was going to continue campaigning until the last day adding that the ECZ should restrict the PF and the UPND in their campaigns for allegedly engaging in violence.
“If ECZ is worried about violence, they should take action against the perpetrators because they know them. The violence ECZ is complaining about is associated with the PF and the UPND and we are not going to pay for electoral sins that are being committed by other political parties. We shall not accept the ban and we are going to continue with our campaigns until the last day,” Dr Mumba said.
But PF media team chairman Harry Kalaba said the ruling party had already done its campaigns and the remaining 10 days would not change the outcome of the election because Zambians had already decided who would be their next president.
Mr Kalaba said there shall be no reason for ECZ to take such an action because the campaign period was almost coming to an end.
He said the PF and its candidate Edgar Lungu had done their homework and had campaigned sufficiently to win the election even if the ECZ decided to cut the campaign period.
“There will be no need for ECZ to stop the campaigns because violence has been condemned by all stakeholders.
“But as PF, we have done our work with our candidate and what we are doing now are just formalities.
“We are just waiting to be confirmed and if the election was to be held tomorrow, it would not change the outcome of the results,” Mr Kalaba said.
UPND deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo said if the ECZ was going to attempt to cut the campaign period, the commission should consider bringing the presidential election forward so that those planning to manipulate results would be frustrated.
Mr Lifwekelo said the UPND was ready for the presidential election because it had covered every part of the country and was only waiting for the voting day.
“If ECZ is planning to ban campaigns because of violence, they should consider bringing the voting date forward. As UPND, we have covered most of the areas and we are ready for the election.
“Unless ECZ says it is going to police the political parties, we believe they have no capacity to stop political parties to campaign during this period,” Mr Lifwekelo said.