MALAMBO and Petauke Central by-elections results were a reflection of the electorates as people freely and willingly decided on their preferred candidates without intimidation and harassment, says FODEP executive director McDonald Chipenzi.
And Mr Chipenzi has however charged that the Mulobezi by-elections did not represent the will of the people as the election was marred with intimidation, harassment and arrests of electoral opponents.
Speaking in his interim post-election statement, Mr Chipenzi said FODEP was pleased with the players in Malambo and Petauke Central constituencies respectively.
“FODEP would like to congratulate the players for maintaining peace on the voting day in Malambo and Petauke constituencies,” he said.
Mr Chipenzi, who congratulated Ms Dora Siliya and Mr Jack Shuma for a well-deserved victory, however accused the Zambia police of being used as political tools of suppression for political stakeholders during elections in Mulobezi.
He said FODEP was concerned with the manner the Mulobezi by-election was conducted and managed by Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the Zambia Police.
“The arrest of opposition campaign in the ruling party is serious blow to the credibility of the electoral outcome of the Mulobezi by-election. It is a well-known fact that the Mulobezi by-election was a do or die electoral contest between the ruling party and opposition and police was expected to have handled the situation delicately,” Mr Chipenzi said.
He accused police of intimidating, harassing and arresting the opposition members including victims of the gunshots.
Mr Chipenzi said it was saddening to see the level of hypocrisy in the police who had consistently been warning citizens not to take the law into their hands.
He said at the same time, the police allowed ruling party members to take the law into their hands.
“Police managed to confiscate machetes from the oppositions while guns were not confiscated from the ruling party supporters. To date, the police are claiming that they are still investigating. This is a pure act of police partiality, unethical and unprofessional conduct is a great danger to holding of credible free, fair and transparent elections in the country,” Mr Chipenzi said.
He said what had happened in Livingstone in 2013 has repeated itself in Mulobezi and that the police in the area and the police command in general continued to be found wanting in their conduct.
“Therefore, the conduct of the Mulobezi by-election is not free and fair, it leaves much to be desired and does not reflect the will of the people of Mulobezi. The winner should not be proud of the results. Mulobezi by-election which has recorded about 51 percent turnout has been undermined by the behavior of the police,” he said.
And Mr Chipenzi said the elections results in Petauke indicated that the opposition political parties did not do well.
“The result in Petauke shows that the opposition did not do well. There is need for them to do more. If you want to beat Ms Dora Siliya in Petauke you must be very strong because she is a household name in Eastern Province,” Mr Chipenzi said.